Visit to a Drugstore
The supplement I chose to research is Biotin. I am familiar with Biotin and have taken it myself in the past. It is also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H. People may know it as the “hair, skin and nail vitamins”. That is most of the appeal of the vitamin, that it can enhance your appearance or so they claim.
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that acts as an essential cofactor for several carboxylases involved in the cellular metabolism of fatty acids, amino acids, and gluconeogenesis. Biotin deficiency can be due to lack of biotin intake during prenatal period, gastrointestinal abnormalities, excessive intake of raw egg whites, and chronic anticonvulsant therapy. Biotin deficiency can also be hereditary. In the industrialized countries, like the United States, biotin deficiency is found to be very rare because of our natural intestinal bacteria produce it. That is why biotin supplements are rarely recommended.
The idea of more beautiful hair, skin and nails is what is advertised on most supplement labels. However, to date, there have been no clinical trials conducted to evaluate the efficacy of biotin supplementation for any type of alopecia, and currently, its use to improve hair quantity or quality is not routinely recommended. The initial literature investigating the efficacy of biotin for hair dates back to a study in 1965 in which 46 women were treated with an unknown dose of biotin and observed for “effects on hair roots”. The authors concluded that biotin supplementation produced no change in the “state of the hair roots” in any of the 46 women.
Biotin was not listed in our handbook but from the research I found it does not have any adverse effects associated with oral or dental health. Some of the side effects of excessive biotin intake were nausea, cramping, and skin rashes. It is interesting that a vitamin supplement advertised almost as a beauty product and could make skin more appealing would lead to scaly itchy rashes.
Biotin can be naturally found in many foods such as eggs, almond, and bananas. With a healthy balanced diet biotin supplementation is not necessary. After watching the PBS documentary “Supplements and Safety” I can see why people would think that more biotin is better due to advertising. There has been no studies that prove that this supplement will increase hair or nail growth or skin complexion. Buyers must be aware that these products do not have to be regulated by the FDA. I was unaware of this as well. After watching this documentary I dont think ill be buying any supplements and I was sure to forward it to many people to educate them as well.
Soleymani, T., MD, LoSicco, K., MD, & Shapiro, J., MD FAAD FRCPC. (2017). The Infatuation With Biotin Supplementation: Is There Truth Behind Its Rising Popularity? A Comparative Analysis of Clinical Efficacy versus Social Popularity [Abstract]. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
Grant Abstract: Intestinal Biotin Absorption: Physiological and Pathophysiological Aspects. (n.d.). https://ods.od.nih.gov/Funding/abstract.aspx?g=5R01DK058057-17 . Retrieved July 13, 2017.