Vitamin B8, commonly known as biotin or vitamin H, is classified under vitamin B complex. Biotin is a natural constituent found in almost all foods we consume therefore chances for its deficiency are low. On the other hand, biotin is water-soluble thus not retained by the body, but there are bacteria in the colon and small intestine which recycles used biotin therefore lack of vitamin B8 in the body is rare. However, pregnant women may have insufficient levels of biotin in their bodies because it is highly used to ensure the normal growth of the embryo.
Functions of vitamin B8
Being a vitamin, biotin helps the body to breakdown carbohydrates to glucose molecules to release energy. It also boosts the metabolism rate thereby aiding in the metabolism of proteins and fats. Moreover, it enables individuals to have a healthy skin, digestive tract and nerves. Biotin supplements help individuals to curb the tingling, numbness, burning and weak sensation that is felt on the legs and joints due to nerve damage. It plays a vital role of curing various types of nerve pathology for example peripheral neuropathy. In addition, when biotin is used hand in hand with chromium supplements, it helps improve blood sugar thereby curbing the development of type II diabetes.
Biotin also strengthens splitting, brittle and thin nails, prevents hair loss, depression and hepatitis. This explains the varied use of biotin in manufacturing beauty products ranging from hair to skin. Furthermore, biotin is used to cure cradle cap in children. It is believed that when mixed with milk, whether breast or formula milk, it works more effectively. Individuals that suffer from biotinidase deficiency whose symptoms are visual disturbance, bald spots, development delays, seizures, hearing loss and skin disorders can control it using biotin supplements. This condition is hereditary and thus can be effectively controlled when individuals are subjected to biotin supplements when they are still infants.
Sources of Vitamin B8
Biotin is mostly derived from common foods such as nuts, egg yolk, whole grain, legumes, sardines, soybeans, mushrooms, bananas and cauliflower. Conducted research and scientific experiments show that fresh and unprocessed foods have a higher percentage of biotin than processed foods. Also, consumption of raw eggs inhibits the ability of the body to absorb biotin because of the presence of avidin protein. Vitamin H can also be derived from multivitamins, vitamin B complex derivatives and various other types of supplements.