Does Biotin Work?
Some people may wonder, "Does biotin work?" Although biotin supplements are effective at treating a biotin deficiency, this vitamin is also claimed to be useful for several other conditions, such as high cholesterol, nail and hair health, cradle cap, and diabetes. Studies have shown that biotin may be beneficial for some of these uses, but more research is needed to support these claims.
Biotin is an important vitamin. It is also known as vitamin H or vitamin B7. Biotin deficiencies are quite rare, and it is probably unlikely that biotin supplementation would work well for people who already have an adequate biotin intake. This article will address the effectiveness of biotin for several different uses, including:
Does Biotin Work for Biotin Deficiency?
As you might guess, taking biotin is very effective at treating biotin deficiencies. Although a biotin deficiency is not very common in healthy people, there are some conditions or situations that can increase the risk of a biotin deficiency, such as:
- Biotinidase deficiency (a genetic disorder)
- Certain seizure medications or antibiotics (see Biotin Drug Interactions)
- Consumption of large quantities of raw egg whites (which contain a substance that causes biotin depletion)
- Kidney dialysis
- IV feedings (known as total parenteral nutrition or TPN) that do not contain biotin.
Does Biotin Work for High Cholesterol?
Early studies have suggested that biotin may help to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. Some of these studies used biotin in combination with chromium, and many of the studies were only performed in people who had type II diabetes. In particular, these studies suggested that biotin might help to lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol"), and triglycerides. However, much more research is needed before biotin should be recommended as a cholesterol-lowering treatment. There is some thought that people who have diabetes may be more susceptible to biotin deficiencies (and may, therefore, benefit more from biotin supplementation, compared to other people).