Essential nutrients are very important for your body like oil is to a machine. Without proper micronutrients, your body functions start to slow down and problems arise. Especially important for optimal body function are the B Vitamins.

Intricate pathways like methylation – your body’s biochemical highway, metabolism, detox, inflammatory response and more are all powered by B Vitamins. Like Vitamin C and Vitamin D, there are many types of B Vitamins that each play a role in maintaining your body.

One such important member is Vitamin H or Biotin or Vitamin B7 that stands apart with its role in keeping skin, hair and nails healthy. In this article, let’s explore the role of Biotin in detail and know what happens when you are deficient in this vitamin.

What is Vitamin H or Biotin?

Vitamin H or Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that is often referred to in German as Harr and Haut (Hair and Skin). Sources say that Biotin was named as Vitamin H  according to the alphabetical order in which vitamins were discovered.

You can get biotin only through your diet as it is not synthesised by your body. Any protein-bound biotin from the food gets converted to free biotin which is then absorbed within the intestine. Once it is absorbed, it moves into the systemic circulation, picked up by the liver and then finally crosses the blood-brain barrier into the central nervous system.

Benefits of Biotin

Here are some of the important benefits of Vitamin H:

  1. Regulates Metabolism

Biotin is a coenzyme for carboxylases, which are enzymes that help to metabolize fats, carbohydrates and proteins and also processes like gluconeogenesis, insulin secretion and production of certain neurotransmitters.

Low loves of biotin can degrade metabolism and improper metabolism is usually the root cause of several lifestyle disorders.

  1. Healthy Nails and Skin

If you have brittle nails, the reason could be a biotin deficiency. Undergoing a cosmetic procedure to harden your nails is not an effective solution. Instead, improve the quality of your nails by consuming more biotin from food sources.

Besides, if you are struggling with skin problems, Vitamin B7 will help to revitalize your skin and prevent aging, skin rashes and allergies.

  1. Healthy Hair

One of the essential functions of biotin is that it improves the strength of your hair and adds natural shine to it. From dandruff to itchiness and hair loss, regular consumption of Biotin rich foods can support the health of your hair.

  1. Controls Blood Sugar

Biotin helps in breaking down of carbohydrates and is beneficial in controlling blood sugar. Studies suggest that a combination of chromium and biotin will aid to manage diabetes and improve blood sugar levels.

  1. Prevents Birth Defects

Biotin tends to decrease in your body during pregnancy. As a result, it can cause defects in the DNA and cause mutations that can lead to birth defects. You can overcome the deficiency and pass over the benefits to your baby, while breastfeeding as well, by consuming food rich in Vitamin H.

  1. Promote Brain Function

The brain requires biotin for the formation of the myelin sheath, the fat membrane that forms the outer covering of the cells. Without that protective covering, brain signals will not be passed efficiently and result in blockages in the brain. For this reason, health experts recommend biotin to regulate better brain function and circulation.

  1. Immune Function

Biotin is crucial for the development of white blood cells, the defense mechanism of your immune system. Biotin deficiency is associated with T-cell decay, a type of white blood cells and since biotin is converted within the gut, it only makes sense that biotin is essential for immune function.

Deficiency in Biotin or Vitamin H

Biotin is found in several food sources and so severe deficiencies in this nutrient can be rare. However, suboptimal levels of Vitamin H are becoming common. This is because of impaired gut function. Since a lot of conversions happen in the gut, individuals who have inflammatory bowel diseases or other microbiome imbalance can have trouble maintain adequate biotin.

Factors like overuse of antibiotics or improper food, digestive issues tend to wipe out the good bacteria in the gut and end up killing biotin producing bacteria thereby contributing to low levels of Vitamin H.

Here are some Risk Factors of Biotin Deficiency:

  • Alcohol Consumption inhibits biotin absorption
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy and Lactation tend to alter and lose more biotin
  • Eating more raw egg whites causes protein Avidin to inhibit Biotin absorption
  • A hereditary disorder of biotinidase deficiency that prevents the body from reusing biotin
  • IV nutrition or tube feeding may lower how much biotin you can absorb

Natural Sources of Biotin

Biotin is available as supplements, but a better source would be to get it off natural food. Having a less processed version of the following can improve your biotin levels:

  • Cooked eggs, especially egg yolk
  • Sardines
  • Nuts – Almonds, Pecan, Walnut, Peanut and Nut Butter
  • Organic Soybean
  • Bananas
  • Mushrooms
  • Legumes – Beans, blackeye peas
  • Cauliflower
  • Whole Grains
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Avocado


Overall biotin is a safe vitamin that has no drastic side-effects. Since it’s water-soluble, an overdose is typically excreted out the urine. But if you use supplements that contain excessive amounts of biotin, it can throw off your thyroid test results and create false positives.

Everyone wishes to stay on the healthy side of the continuum called life, but very few of us achieve it. With a proper diet rich in essential vitamins like biotin and a healthy lifestyle, make a whole lot of difference.