Natrol Biotin is a supplement that is taken to increase Vitamin B7 in the body. Biotin and vitamin H are other terms used to identify this vitamin. Biotin is sourced from different foods and is needed in small amounts in the body. This is one reason why vitamin B7 deficiency is rare. The supplement is administered to prevent as well as treat a vitamin B7 deficiency. The deficiency can be brought on by pregnancy, malnutrition, long term tube feeding as well as rapid weight loss. It is also used to treat hair loss, weak nails, mild cases of depression, type two diabetes and skin rash in infants.
Biotin is part of a large group of vitamins that fall under thee B complex classification (Ehrlich, 2011). Such vitamins aid the body to break down carbohydrates into energy that the body then uses as fuel. They also help the body to burn fats and protein. Without adequate biotin, the body is unable to metabolize amino acids, fats, carbohydrates as well as the building blocks of protein (Ehrlich, 2011). The supplement is included in many cosmetic products for hair and skin as it is believed to strengthen nails and hair.
Vitamin B is generally not stored in the body as it is water soluble. However, there are bacteria in the digestive tract that can reconstitute it. The vitamin is also considered as a key nutrient for normal development of the fetus. As such, it is considered as a key nutrient for expectant mothers (Ehrlich, 2011).
Similar to any nutritional supplement, there are guidelines on how it should be administered as well as notable side effects that can arise from the use or abuse of the supplements. Studies have been conducted to understand how this vitamin reacts with other substances when ingested and a number of effects have been noted. Similar to other modes of treatment, it is clear that this supplement has numerous benefits when administered in the right way. However, that not withstanding, cases do arise when these same supplements do more harm than good to a person. However, this is very rare. As such, it is necessary that one ensures that they seek professional medical advice should they feel that they need to use Natrol Biotin to combat hair loss, brittle nails or any other condition that the supplement is known to offer relief.
Purported use and health claims
A question that begs to be answered in here is why people take Biotin. From the introduction, it is clear that biotin plays an important role in the body. Vitamin B7 helps the skin maintain a healthy glow, strengthens nails, and prevents hair loss. It also supports health of the nerves, cells, metabolism and digestive tract (Karriem-Norwood, 2013). It has also been found to be an effective treatment on some types of nerve illnesses that arise from diabetes and kidney failure (Karriem-Norwood, 2013).
Supplements such as Natrol Biotin have been subjected to controlled clinical studies to determine how effective they are for certain health conditions. Early clinical research has indicated that the supplement helps to decrease insulin resistance in people suffering from type two diabetes (Karriem-Norwood, 2013). However, additional research needs to be done as no conclusive position has been reached on its use for treatment. Other uses for biotin that lack support in terms of adequate clinical research include treatment of conditions such as hair loss, hepatitis, depression and cradle cap (Karriem-Norwood, 2013). The supplement is however known to help strengthen brittle nails. Biotin is crucial for normal embryonic growth and as such is considered as a key nutrient for expectant mothers.
As earlier highlighted, Biotin is a nutrient that is naturally available in food. As such, most people do not need the supplements. In addition, the human body recycles biotin that has already been used. As such, a deficiency in vitamin B7 is rare (Karriem-Norwood, 2013).
Why use biotin supplements
The rationale for the use of biotin supplements is to treat and prevent a deficiency. However, considering that this is a rare deficiency to have, in most cases, the supplement is used to treat conditions such as lethargy, mild cases of depression, nerve disorders and delusions. Some evidence exists that mild biotin deficiency can be caused by cigarette smoking.
As the supplement is known to react with other drugs, it is advised that one seeks medical advice before they choose to take biotin supplements. He Institute of Medicine provides a table that indicates the appropriate dosage for different categories. Infants ranging from zero to 6 months need five micrograms (mcgs) per day (WebMD, 2015). Those aged between seven and twelve months need six mcgs per day. Children between ages one and eight require eight mcgs daily. Those aged between nine and thirteen require twenty micrograms daily while those aged between fourteen and eighteen years need twenty-five micrograms per day (WebMD, 2015). Adults generally require thirty micrograms per day. However, for breastfeeding women, the advisable intake is thirty-five micrograms (WebMD, 2015).
While it is clear that the body requires very few doses of biotin per day, no research evidence suggests that a high intake poses a health risk. However, cases have arisen where natrol biotin users have reported experiencing negative side effects such as a skin rash. Some of the signs of a biotin overdose include lower levels of certain vitamins in the body, slower release of insulin and high blood sugar levels (Oliver, 2015).
Very few studies have been done to evaluate biotin largely because a deficiency is extremely rare. As such, many of the studies that have been carried out are based on case reports or weak evidence. There is inconclusive evidence to suggest that biotin supplements such as natrol biotin improve hair loss as well as strengthen the toe and fingernails. The vitamin supplement has however been paired up with topical clobetasol and zinc to treat alopecia areata (WebMD, 2015). This is largely attributed to its role as part of the building blocks of protein. The patient given biotin supplements that are to be administered orally as well as a cream containing clobetasol propionate which is applied to the skin (WebMD, 2015).
Though the evidence available is to some degree insufficient, cases have shown that biotin, on its own alters blood sugar levels in people suffering from type two diabetes. It has also been noted to reduce diabetic nerve pain (WebMD, 2015). Some evidence also shows that when it is combined with Chromium, it helps to reduce blood sugar levels in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Earlier evidence has also shown that the same combination helps reduce high cholesterol for such patients (WebMD, 2015).
Biotin might also increase the thickness of nails. It is used in cosmetic products for hair and skin at varying concentrations that range up to as high as 0.6% (Fiume, 2001). The vitamin is also known to absorb some ultra violet radiation. Its high solubility in water results in it being metabolized and expelled in urine. No known side effects have been found based on tests conducted. The tests that have been carried out include intradermal injection of the vitamin in guinea pig skin, with the biotin being at a pH of 7.3 failed to produce transient ocular irritation when it was given to rabbits. Oral administration of the vitamin to mice did not result in any differences between control and treatment groups (Fiume, 2001). However, in one study, where individuals were exposed to a biotin every day, evidence of urticarial reaction was found (Fiume, 2001). However, no parallel appearance of reaction was noted or the appearance of irritation as well as any other adverse reactions. As such, it has been concluded that biotin is safe to use in cosmetic products (Fiume, 2001).
Summary and Conclusion
Natrola Biotin is not a drug but a nutritional supplement for vitamin B7 which is otherwise known as Biotin. Biotin is an important nutrient as it contributes to the healthy appearance of skin and hair. As such, it is one of the ingredients in cosmetic products. The human body does not need this nutrient in large doses which is why cases of deficiency are extremely rare.
The man reasons why people take the supplement is to treat hair loss and brittle nails. It is also used together with other products to treat some diseases such as type 2 diabetes and kidney failure. Expectant mothers are the only category of people that require the highest supply of the nutrient per day. It has also been known to be used to treat skin rash that at times occurs in children.
So far, evidence is insufficient concerning its use for treatment of a number of diseases that it apparently helps to alleviate. However, from the role the nutrient plays in the body of breaking down carbohydrates into energy that the body then uses as fuel, and in aiding in the break-down of fats and protein, it is clear that it is a vital component in the human body. It is also known to aid the body to metabolize amino acids, fats, carbohydrates as well as the building blocks of protein (Ehrlich, 2011).
Ehrlich, S. D. (2011, June 26). Vitamin H (Biotin). Retrieved from umm.edu
Fiume, M. (2001). Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Biotin. International Journal of Toxicology, 45-61.
Karriem-Norwood, V. (2013, June 5). Biotin. Retrieved from webmd.com: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-biotin
Oliver, D. (2015, February 8). Why You Should Be Cautious Of Taking Biotin For Your Hair, Skin & Nails. Retrieved from huffingtonpost.com: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/30/biotin-hair-skin-nails_n_4016804.html?ir=India&adsSiteOverride=in
WebMD. (2015). Biotin Uses and Effectiveness. Retrieved from webmd.com: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-313-biotin.aspx?activeingredientid=313&activeingredientname=biotin