Biotion is a B vitamin and a coenzyme that plays a vital role in ensuring healthy hair, skin and nerves.

What are its health benefits?

Biotin enables your body to transform the fats, proteins and carbohydrates in your food into energy your cells can use. It plays an important role in the production of fatty acids that ensure healthy hair, skin and nerves, as well as regulating blood sugar levels. It’s even said to prevent hair from turning grey, and is a critical nutrient during pregnancy as it ensures normal embryonic growth.

Biotin – also known as vitamin H – is used for preventing and treating biotin deficiency associated with pregnancy, long-term tube feeding, malnutrition, and rapid weight loss.

Biotin supplements may have the following benefits:

  • Stimulate hair growth and brittle nails
  • Treat skin rash in infants
  • If combined with chromium, it may help improve blood sugar control in some people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes, although more research is needed on this.

Do you have a deficiency?

Deficiency is rare but can occur if you consume too many raw egg whites for extended periods. Raw egg whites contain a protein, which binds with biotin, called avidin (it is inactivated during the cooking process though). Extended use of antibiotics can also disrupt biotin production in the intestines.

Biotin deficiency can result in:

  • Eczema
  • Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin)
  • Hair loss
  • Dry or scaly skin
  • Anaemia (a condition where your blood can’t carry enough oxygen to meet the needs of your body)
  • Muscle pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Conjunctivitis (an eye infection known also as “pink eye”)
  • A weakened immune system

Find it in these foods

To combat a deficiency, eat biotin-rich foods like the following:

  • Egg yolks
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Soya beans
  • Yoghurt
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Sweet potato

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

The RDA for an adult is 30 mcg, but 2500mcg is generally regarded as the safe upper level for daily consumption. People receiving kidney dialysis may need extra biotin. Consult with your Clicks pharmacist or your doctor first though about appropriate supplementation.

Know the overdose risks

There are no side effects as excesses are easily lost in urine and there is no known toxicity. However, biotin might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medication. Therefore ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

Shop online at Clicks.co.za for biotin

If you'd prefer the convenience of purchasing your biotin online, go here for Vitaforce Biotin tablets and GNC Biotin supplements.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in February 2015