Many of us know biotin for its use as a supplement that promotes hair growth. But biotin, also known as vitamin B7, does more than giving us a healthy hair head. This vitamin also plays a vital role in supporting many of our body's functions.
If we aren’t consuming enough vegan biotin to maintain adequate levels, we may begin to experience symptoms that we’d never expect to be signs of a biotin deficiency.
So how do we know if we have low biotin levels and need to increase our intake? We’ve compiled a list of 9 biotin deficiency symptoms that you should look out for to ensure optimal health both inside and out.
1. Hair loss
Hair loss is the most common sign of a biotin deficiency. When our vitamin B7 levels aren’t high enough to support keratin production and follicle growth, we may experience shedding and breakage.
Many people take biotin vitamins to grow longer, healthier hair. One study describes biotin as an alternative medicine used to manage and treat pathological hair conditions that contribute to hair loss, alopecia being an example.
Because research has found that alopecia is one of many consequences associated with biotin deficiencies, it’s essential to increase our intake of biotin if we’re noticing excessive hair loss.
Dermatitis is a general term that describes skin irritation and is one of the most common signs indicating a biotin deficiency.
In the same way that our hair needs keratin to stay healthy, our skin needs keratin to serve as a protective barrier to the outside world and retain its moisture.
Research shows that dermal abnormalities in biotin deficiency are also due to impaired fatty acid metabolism, which results in a scaly red rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth. That’s why anyone noticing skin irritation should consider taking a daily biotin supplement to better support the health of their skin.
3. Unusual distribution of facial fat
An unusual distribution of facial fat and a rash is known as “biotin deficiency facies.”
When our bodies aren’t getting enough biotin to support adequate fat production and metabolization, it affects us from the inside out. If you’re noticing differences in the way your face looks, especially if a rash accompanies these differences, there’s a strong chance you need to increase your vitamin B7 levels.
4. Weak, brittle nails
Nails that are weak, brittle, and dry often indicate low biotin levels.
Why? Biotin supports the metabolization of protein-building amino acids necessary for maintaining strong, healthy nails.
Studies have shown evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of biotin supplements in treating splitting brittle nails. So if your nails need an extra boost, biotin vitamin supplements could answer your prayers.
Anyone experiencing symptoms of fatigue may not be getting the recommended dietary intake of biotin.
This is because vitamin B7 helps our bodies to break down food and convert it into valuable energy. When our bodies are deficient in biotin, we’re producing less energy and may feel more sluggish.
One experimental study tested the effects of biotin deficiency in mice and found that lower biotin levels induce fatigue. So if you’re feeling more tired than usual, you may want to rule out a biotin deficiency as a cause.
6. Feelings of depression
One of the signs and symptoms of a biotin deficiency is depression.
The same study which found that low biotin levels cause fatigue in mice also found that they cause depression. Another study supports this finding, explaining that patients with biotin deficiency will often show signs of being depressed.
While feelings of depression can stem from various issues, it’s essential to get your biotin levels checked if you suspect your depression is from a lack of this crucial vitamin.
7. High blood sugar
High blood sugar can also be a sign of a vitamin B7 deficiency.
But what role does biotin play in our blood sugar levels?
Preclinical studies have shown that biotin has an essential role in regulating blood glucose and serum lipid metabolism. This is a critical function that ensures proper blood sugar levels and may even help reduce the risk of diabetes.
8. Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, can often indicate low biotin levels.
But how do we know if we have conjunctivitis? This condition is characterized by pink or red color in the whites of the eyes, swelling around the eyes, and increased tear production.
Research has shown that symptoms of a biotin deficiency often include conjunctivitis, which is why you may want to increase your vitamin B7 levels if you’re suffering from this condition.
9. Numbness or tingling
Feeling numbness, tingling, or prickling sensations in your hands and feet can signify a biotin deficiency.
But why? Studies have shown that biotin supplements help to improve nerve health and function. This explains why we’ll feel numbness or tingling if we’re lacking in vitamin B7 - it’s common for nerves that are compressed or damaged to result in uncomfortable sensations in our extremities.
So if you’re experiencing this symptom, it may be a sign of poor nerve health due to a biotin deficiency.
Staying aware of the signs that indicate a biotin deficiency is a great way for us to be proactive about our health. But if you’re already experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it might be time to add high doses of biotin to your diet.
Luckily, FuelOrganics offers a high-quality, high-potency vegan biotin supplement that contains 5,000mcg of the vitamin B7 your body needs to function.
For more information on biotin, check out our article: How Much Biotin You Should Take Per Day
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