July 27, 2016

Biotin

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What other names is Biotin known by?

Biotina, Biotine, Biotine-D, Coenzyme R, D-Biotin, Vitamin B7, Vitamin H, Vitamine B7, Vitamine H, W Factor, Cis-hexahydro-2-oxo-1H-thieno[3,4-d]-imidazole-4-valeric Acid.

What is Biotin?

Biotin is a vitamin that is found in small amounts in numerous foods.

Biotin is used for preventing and treating biotin deficiency associated with pregnancy, long-term tube feeding, malnutrition, and rapid weight loss. It is also used orally for hair loss, brittle nails, skin rash in infants (seborrheic dermatitis), diabetes, and mild depression.

Is Biotin effective?

Biotin can effectively treat and prevent biotin deficiency. But biotin deficiency is very rare and taking supplements is not usually necessary.

There is some scientific evidence that it might help for brittle finger and toenails.

There isn't enough information to know if biotin is effective for the other conditions people use it for, including: malnutrition, hair loss, diabetes, and others.

Likely Effective for...

  • Treating and preventing biotin deficiency. Symptoms of deficiency include thinning of the hair (often with loss of hair color), and red scaly rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Other symptoms include depression, listlessness, hallucinations, and tingling in the arms and legs. There is some evidence that cigarette smoking may cause mild biotin deficiency.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Skin rash in infants (seborrheic dermatitis).

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Hair loss. There is some preliminary evidence that hair loss can be reduced when biotin is taken by mouth in combination with zinc while a cream containing the chemical compound clobetasol propionate (Olux, Temovate) is applied to the skin.
  • Diabetes. Biotin alone doesn't seem to affect blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, there is some evidence that a combination of biotin and chromium (Diachrome, Nutrition 21) might lower blood sugar in people with diabetes, whose diabetes is poorly controlled by prescription medicines. Other early evidence shows that the same combination reduces ratios of total cholesterol levels to "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to HDL cholesterol, and non-HDL to HDL cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Diabetic nerve pain. There is some evidence that biotin can reduce nerve pain in people with diabetes.
  • Brittle fingernails and toenails. Biotin might increase the thickness of fingernails and toenails in people with brittle nails.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate biotin for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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