Biotin is often associated with aiding in the health of hair, skin and nails, and with good reason, but this vitamin offers benefits that extend to metabolic function, maintaining a healthy nervous system and even helping to regulate glucose, as well!
This vital vitamin is ubiquitous to supplements promising to lengthen the mane and strengthen the nails, but also important are its lesser-known benefits. Our ladies (and men) in the Konscious Keto offices, love to supplement with biotin and realize the benefits daily.
No worries, we’re happy to share more on the full spectrum of benefits offered by biotin and how quality foods and well-formulated supplements can prove particularly helpful if you're following a ketogenic diet.
What is Biotin?
First, we'll take a look at what biotin is and then we'll dig into the many ways consuming this B vitamin can improve many aspects of health and wellness when living a low-carb, high-fat lifestyle.
As we mentioned, biotin is a part of the B-vitamin family and it's water-soluble—like vitamin C—meaning we don't need to consume it with fat, although it’s not like eating enough fats is an issue at all on keto.
Biotin was found to improve health in a study conducted on mice around the time the ketogenic diet came to its initial acclaim in the 1920s—with it finding further credence in 1942 after similar benefits were seen in humans who consumed the vitamin regularly.
Fascinatingly enough, this versatile vitamin has about as many aliases as health benefits! Biotin may also be referred to as vitamin B7, vitamin H, W Factor, or Coenzyme R.
Also, one of biotin's many biological responsibilities is the assimilation of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. While our body does make some biotin in the gut, eating foods containing the vitamin or taking a quality exogenous supplement can prove helpful to shore up possible holes in your diet.
We are excited to share that we will be launching our very own keto-friendly, biotin supplement soon, made with high-quality natural ingredients, never anything artificial—and it's an excellent addition to any Konscious Keto'ers holistic dietary regimen.
In addition to incorporating a premium supplement into your wellness plan, the following is a list of biotin-rich, keto-friendly foods to incorporate into your meal plan for an added boost of this potent and multi-faceted B vitamin:
- Beef liver
- Eggs (cooked)
- Pink salmon
- Pork chops
- Ground beef
- Sunflower seeds
Now that we've touched on what biotin is and ways to work it into your keto lifestyle, here's more on the many benefits of the vitamin.
Benefits of a Hair, Skin & Nails Supplement: Biotin
This benefit should come as no surprise, as most people are familiar with biotin because of its known benefits related to growing healthy hair and strong nails, along with maintaining glowing and clear skin.
You may be wondering if the buzz about biotin is fact or hype, and we're glad you're here to read our take on the matter.
Here's the thing to keep in mind, while a biotin deficiency can lead to hair loss, consuming excessive levels of biotin will not act as a super hair growth accelerant. Instead, biotin is a powerful player in what must be a comprehensive approach to living a healthy low-carb life.
The combination of eating biotin-rich foods with well-crafted supplements is worth consideration, to avoid a deficiency and help support metabolic health—especially important if your goal on keto is to lose weight.
Can Boost Your Metabolism
Yes, you heard right. Biotin is shown to aid in metabolic function and can aid in fat loss.
As we mentioned, biotin plays a vital role in the metabolism of our daily macros and contains unique enzymes needed for proper digestion and gut health.
Also, the integral role in metabolism played by the enzymes found in biotin function via three biological pathways: gluconeogenesis, fatty acid synthesis, and amino acid catabolism.
This pathway is responsible for the production of glucose from the foods we eat, usually from non-carbohydrate food sources. The gluconeogenesis pathway is triggered when our glucose stores are depleted, and biotin helps to regulate this pathway.
The creation of fatty acid in the body occurs through the process of fatty acid synthesis. It's a vital process as it enables the body to efficiently store energy and manage the proper use of glucose in the body, a process that usually occurs in the fat cells or liver.
Protein is a building block of our muscles and body tissue, and the body is in a constant cycle of building and repairing muscle tissue. The breakdown of protein in the body happens through a synthesis known as amino acid catabolism.
Although many on a ketogenic diet opt to eat moderate amounts of protein per the standard keto dietary protocol, it is possible to consume more protein than we can store without converting those amino acids into fatty acids, glucose, or ketones, to harvest them properly as an optimal source of bioavailable energy, so biotin is important.
As a result of the processes performed in the body, biotin is undisputably critical to extracting energy from the low-carb, high-fat fare we eat and enables the body to efficiently store excess energy for later use!
Can Help Nails Grow Stronger
Adequate levels of biotin are said to aid in keeping nails long and healthy and with good reason. Studies have shown that biotin can help in the prevention of cracking, brittle, or splitting nails.
Similar to the effects of stunted hair growth or compromised quality of skin, a biotin deficiency can lead to weak nails that break easily.
Taking a quality biotin supplement, while being mindful to eat lots of biotin-rich foods, will aid in improved nail strength and health.
Can Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
It may be a lesser-touted benefit, but biotin helps to regulate blood sugar—which will further intensify the benefits of ketosis for those eating a low-carb, high-fat diet.
Although more studies are emerging, preliminary research has found hopeful results in those supplementing with biotin in combination with chromium picolinate—to improve the stability of blood sugar levels!
Furthermore, biotin also aids in the prevention of a condition called diabetic neuropathy that those suffering from type 2 diabetes often experience in the latter stages of the disease.
As we mentioned, biotin is linked with improved health of the nervous system and its unique enzymes directly contribute to the prevention of diabetic nerve damage that can result in pain or tingling in the joints—yet another benefit of balanced biotin levels.
Can Support Pregnancy
The body's needs increase significantly during pregnancy as we nurture our baby's growing brain and body and draw upon nutrition as expecting moms.
While folic acid is often heralded as a critical nutrient to consume during pregnancy—and it is that—biotin also offers unique benefits to mom and her growing baby that are worth consideration.
Remember, biotin plays a critical role in energy production and storage in the body, and this is particularly important as the increased demands that fostering a new life place on our body's nutritional requirements, can be significant.
Also, it's important to note that some studies have shown a possible increased risk of a biotin deficiency in women during pregnancy because of baby's ever-increasing needs in utero. Keep an eye on biotin levels, especially when expecting, to ensure both of your nutritional needs are met.
Can Help Hair and Skin Flourish
More than acting as a growth accelerant, taking a well-crafted biotin supplement, along with eating lots of biotin-rich foods, is an excellent way to ensure adequate vitamin levels—which can contribute to thick and luscious hair and radiant skin.
Thinning hair, brittle nails, and even hair loss can all be indicative of a biotin deficiency; we know, not a pretty picture.
However, increasing biotin intake via food sources and exogenous supplements can all contribute to keeping biotin levels in an ideal range, and keep you looking and feeling your best.
Symptoms You Need a Biotin Supplement
If your skin seems to have lost its luster or your hair appears dull and lifeless, your body may be queuing you into the presence of a biotin deficiency.
There are many consequences of a biotin deficiency, and our body may present evidence of the breakdown in various ways:
Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases:
Although a biotin deficiency doesn't cause inflammatory bowel diseases, the presence of diseases like Chron's and other inflammatory bowel diseases may prevent you from being able to absorb biotin properly.
The available data points to the lifestyle choice of smoking making it more difficult for the body to absorb biotin.
A deficiency in one area of the body can create a cascading effect, impacting other functions in the body as a result. A biotinidase deficiency is a heredity condition and relates to the lack of the enzyme responsible for recycling biotin.
Raw egg whites:
Some bodybuilders and everyday keto followers alike include egg whites in their meal plan for taste and nutritional benefits, but raw egg whites happen to contain a compound known as avidin.
Avidin is a powerful biotin-binder and can lead to the development of a deficiency over time if consumed in excess.
Medications can act to quell the symptoms of some disorders, but all allopathic medicines inherently have side effects; one downside being the suppression of biotin absorption.
Most symptoms of a biotin deficiency will present as either neurological or physical in nature.
The following are some tell-tale signs that you may have a biotin deficiency:
- Red, dry or pale skin
- Hair loss
- Loss of hair color
- Dry eyes
- Muscle pain
- Burning (feet or hands)
- Reduced appetite
Use a Quality Biotin Supplement
If you're committed to getting enough biotin in your daily diet, thanks to its many benefits noted, you're in luck.
In addition to using the information provided above regarding biotin-rich foods and incorporating them into your meal plan, adding a well-formulated exogenous biotin supplement is a surefire approach to keep your locks lengthy and supple and your metabolism and glucose levels on track to support weight loss and ketosis.
Take some time and plan out your meals for the week with cultivating a food selection conducive to fostering radiant skin and healthy nails.
Besides, the absence of carb-rich foods, natural to eating a ketogenic diet, will work in your favor to facilitate accelerated fat loss along with offering many other benefits.
The best of beauty and health benefits are for the taking if you remain vigilant to keep biotin intake in an ideal range.
Again, rest easy, we're quite fortunate because we can consume an appropriate amount of biotin effortlessly, based on our individual needs, with what we eat and the inclusion of a quality exogenous supplement, to solidify our comprehensive hair, skin, and nail regimen on keto.
- Albarracin, C. A., Fuqua, B. C., Evans, J. L., & Goldfine, I. D. (2007). Chromium picolinate and biotin combination improve glucose metabolism in treated, uncontrolled overweight to obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews, 24(1), 41-51. doi:10.1002/dmrr.755
- Biotin for Brittle Nails. (1999). Archives of Family Medicine, 8(5), 377-377. doi:10.1001/archfami.8.5.377
- Koutsikos, D., Agroyannis, B., & Tzanatos-Exarchou, H. (1990). Biotin for diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 44(10), 511-514. doi:10.1016/0753-3322(90)90171-5
- Singer, G. M., & Geohas, J. (2006). The Effect of Chromium Picolinate and Biotin Supplementation on Glycemic Control in Poorly Controlled Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blinded, Randomized Trial. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, 8(6), 636-643. doi:10.1089/dia.2006.8.636