Vitamin B7, also called Biotin, is a vital part of a healthy metabolism to process energy, transport carbon dioxide from cells and creating important enzymes. Biotin is often used to strengthen hair and nails, and is also called Vitamin H (for hair) or coenzyme R, is a water- soluble B-vitamin.

Biotin is also important for strengthening hair and fingernails. This supplement is also used to lower glucose levels and improve blood glucose control in diabetics and treat seborrheic dermatitis. A deficiency can lead to an itchy scalp, brittle nails, hair loss, dry skin, a scaly rash around the eyes or mouth, dry eyes, fatigue, and depression.

Biotin deficiencies are rare as the body receives enough of this vitamin through foods including organ meats, barley, brewer’s yeast, fortified cereals, corn, egg yolks, milk, royal jelly, soy, and wheat bran. Avocado, bread, broccoli, cauliflower, cheeses, chicken, fish, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, pork, potatoes, and spinach also provide biotin.

The biggest side effect from taking biotin: It makes some people break out. Dr. Weiser a board-certified dermatologist for the New York Dermatology Group says that could happen because of an imbalance of vitamins in your body.

“Both biotin and pantothenic acid–vitamin B5—are absorbed from the intestines via the same receptors,” she explained. “When taking biotin supplements, the amount of biotin in the gut far outweighs the quantity of vitamin B5, thereby leading to a relative vitamin B5 deficiency. Pantothenic acid is thought to regulate the barrier function of the surface layer on skin and can reduce acne lesions. Therefore, a deficiency of pantothenic acid—or excess of biotin—could lead to acne flares.”

Biotin, like all of the B-complex vitamins, has an essential role within your body. If your hair, nails and skin show signs of a biotin deficiency, talk to your doctor about this, and ask how much biotin you should take to increase your body’s levels of the vitamin and avoid becoming deficient in the future and create a balance to avoid acne breakouts.

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