Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7 and Vitamin H, is the naturally occurring vitamin that can be found abundantly in foods, supplements and is even produced in your gut by good bacteria. It has a range of health benefits that include but are not limited to healthy hair, skin health, and nail health.
However, there may be some evidence that shows biotin helps us on our weight loss journey.
The precise relationship between biotin and weight loss is not crystal clear. However, we can gain a better understanding by looking at the effects of biotin and how it works.
In Layman’s terms, high biotin levels help convert food (more specifically, carbohydrates, fats and proteins) into glucose. The body can then use these elevated glucose levels for energy. Less glucose in the body means less of these nutrients that get stored as fat.
A high amount of Biotin also helps the nervous system use calories more efficiently. This may reduce the feelings of fatigue that commonly accompany diet restrictions and exercise. Regular consumption can also make you feel less hungry, which means you’re more likely to eat less. Which, if you’re shifting to a more balanced diet, can be a good thing.
Remember that if we are not giving our bodies the proper amount of fuel, it will go into a hibernation mode and eventually store all nutrients as fats.
Where can we get biotin from naturally? Which foods are best?
Biotin is relatively abundant and can be found in a range of foods. Animal sources include:
- egg yolks
- saltwater fish
- dairy products
Not into sourcing from animals? Mother nature has you covered:
- soy products
- nuts and seeds
- whole grains
The list shows that biotin is widely accessible and easy to consume, no matter your dietary
From a dietary perspective, an adequate amount is usually from 30 to 100 micrograms a day, depending on age. Children aged 4-10 years old require doses in the lower range, while adults may require high doses, especially when aiding weight loss. When trying to lose weight, you’re looking at ingesting at least 300 micrograms (mcg) a day.
Due to the high amount of biotin needed, most people looking to use biotin for weight loss rely on biotin supplements (1Body has a great one that I’ve been using for some time now). The bacteria in our gut will not produce enough on their own. It can improve the body’s metabolism and energy processing in high volumes.
This doesn’t correlate directly to weight loss; however, over time, it can make digestion more efficient which will help us feel fuller longer and ultimately result in eating less. It can also stabilize blood glucose, which can prevent fat storage. Having high blood sugar levels can also lead to lower “good” cholesterol levels.
Getting these sorts of concentrations almost always means you’ll need to buy it in supplement form. It can be found as a capsule or in powdered form.
To really squeeze the biotin for all of its weight loss potentials, we’ll need to ensure other B vitamins are present in our diet. This can be achieved in a few different ways. We can always take in an array of B vitamins with a healthy, balanced diet (recommended regardless of weight goals) and/or by taking a B-Vitamin Complex.
This and the rest of the B-complex vitamins need to be taken with food for optimal absorption. Biotin’s partner in crime when enhancing metabolism is B5 or pantothenic acid. It is a water-soluble vitamin, which means any excess is excreted — no real risk of overdosing here.
It’s essential to keep in mind that biotin for weight loss is by no means a “wonder drug” or a single solution. Even excessive amounts of the compound cannot compensate for undisciplined eating and a lack of physical activity. Experts usually advise patients that biotin cannot be used solely for weight loss and should accompany a caloric deficit created through a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
It’s equally important to keep in mind the interaction between Biotin and other drugs, both good and harmful.
Case one, antibiotics. Prolonged use of antibiotics can cause some intestinal issues resulting in the food we eat not being absorbed properly. Birth control can also interfere with absorption and may cause serious side effects when taken with other medications. More specifically, the combination of certain medications and birth control can deplete Biotin and other Vitamin B levels.
Getting your provider’s approval before starting a regimen is the best way to stay healthy and avoid potentially serious problems.
Furthermore, there is no dosage of Biotin that can withstand an onslaught of excessive alcohol intake. Alcohol is an arch-nemesis to Biotin and will flush all of it out.
Though Biotin deficiency is rare and severe biotin deficiency in healthy individuals eating a normal mixed diet has never been reported, it’s still important to be conscious of the effects of such a deficiency.
The signs and symptoms of biotin deficiency typically appear gradually and can include thinning hair with progression to hair loss on the body.
Biotin deficiency may also cause a scaly red rash around body openings, conjunctivitis, ketolactic acidosis (when lactate production exceeds lactate clearance), aciduria (abnormal amounts of acid in the urine), seizures; skin infection and brittle nails.
There have also been neurological findings related to Biotin deficiency, such as depression, lethargy, hallucinations, and paresthesias of the extremities.
Though the deficiency is rare, it’s always recommended to seek care from your doctor should you happen to notice any of these effects.
Most experts agree that to achieve the weight loss results associated with Biotin; you’ll need to look for supplements or other multivitamins that are biotin-heavy and commit to a regimen of taking them for the long haul.
Though Biotin is all-natural, this sort of supplementation isn’t always safe for everyone. It’s always a good idea to talk about the risks and benefits with your healthcare provider before choosing your supplements.