MULTIFACETED VITAMIN. HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE LACK OF BIOTIN IN THE BODY
Biotin was discovered in 1901 by the scientist Wilders, who established a substance for the growth of yeast and called it “bios”, which means “life” from Greek.
Further research on biotin was continued by biotin biologist Betheman in 1916. He fed laboratory rats with raw egg white as the main source of protein, and eventually noticed that the animals lost their hair, and skin lesions and muscle dysfunctions occurred. So, he replaced the raw egg white with boiled one to avoid occurrence of the above symptoms.
The fact is that raw eggs contain a specific protein – avidin, which binds biotin and prevents its absorption in the intestine. If you eat not raw, but boiled eggs, then there is no lack of biotin, because avidin loses its ability to bind biotin as a result of thermal denaturation.
What is the function of biotin in the body?
Biotin is essential for 9 enzyme systems to function.
It is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and is highly active. With the help of biotin, the body gets energy from proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Biotin is needed for the normal functioning of the stomach and intestine; it has a lipotropic effect (it can reduce the accumulation of fat in the liver) and is a growth factor.
Biotin contains sulphur, which is important for the health of skin, nails and hair. That is why it is called the "beauty vitamin". It is a vitamin for skin and hair; it prevents hair loss and graying.
According to recent reports, biotin plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism by interacting with the pancreatic hormone insulin. In addition, biotin is involved in the production of so-called glucokinase, a substance that "triggers" glucose metabolism. Glucokinase is produced in the liver, where biotin is stored. This is especially important for people with diabetes mellitus, who have low levels of glucokinase in the liver.
Biotin has other tasks as well. For example, biotin helps to absorb protein and it is an important ally in metabolism of other B vitamins such as folic acid, pantothenic acid and vitamin B12.
"Enemies" of biotin
The biotin daily requirement is 30-100 mcg for adults and 10-50 mcg for children. A sufficient amount of biotin enters the body with food. In addition, it is partially synthesized by the intestinal microflora.
At the same time, there are so-called enemies of biotin, which interfere with its synthesis and normal assimilation in the body. In particular, the above-mentioned raw egg white contains the glycoprotein avidin, which is an antagonist of biotin and has the ability to form a biologically inactive complex in the body. Accordingly, with an excess of avidin, the biotin deficiency may occur.
Products containing sulphurous compounds as preservatives are also incompatible with biotin. The fact is that sulphurous anhydride, formed from heating such products and when they come into contact with air as well, destroys biotin.
In addition, the biotin absorption is impeded by antibiotics affecting the balance of intestinal microflora, inappropriate nutrition (diet fatigue), digestive system disorders, and alcohol abuse.
Biotin deficiency: warning signs
The main signs of biotin deficiency in the body can be seen with the naked eye. Since this vitamin controls the metabolism of fats, it affects the function of the sebaceous glands, therefore, when it is deficient, the skin becomes dry and unhealthy and starts to peel off. Dermatitis develops on the arms, legs and cheeks. At the same time, skin turgor is reduced and early wrinkles appear.
Hair becomes dull and brittle, and dandruff appears as well. The nails also become more brittle. The fact that the body lacks biotin can be evidenced by a pale, smooth tongue, as well as a feeling of "sand" in the eyes, weak erection and premature ejaculation in men. Also, the lack of biotin can be accompanied by drowsiness, muscle weakness, depression, memory impairment, loss of appetite, hyperglycaemia and anaemia.
Products containing Vitamin H
Biotin is found in small amounts in the vast majority of foods. The liver and kidneys of large animals, yeast, legumes (soybeans, peanuts), cauliflower, nuts, boiled eggs, spinach and beets are the richest in biotin.
Biotin is also found in champignons and porcini mushrooms, strawberry and blueberry leaves, and fruits.
It should be remembered that biotin is easily oxidized by oxygen, and the processes of its absorption are disrupted due to the influence of fats and oils with prolonged exposure to air or high temperatures. Therefore, it is beneficial to eat raw or freshly prepared foods in order to preserve this valuable vitamin.
If you feel the lack of vitamin and/or have the symptoms described above, food supplements supporting your body's biotin daily requirement will be useful.