Article By: Rachel Ignomirello, MS, RDN, CSOWM, LDN
Rachel Ignomirello is a Bariatric Dietitian and Board-Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management.
Today, we are going to talk about a little powerhouse called Biotin. This tiny vitamin, also known as B7 or vitamin H, may be small in name but does big things for our bodies, especially when it comes to hair health and overall well-being. Biotin is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin, an unsung hero in the nutritional world. It's like the backstage crew, quietly ensuring the show goes on smoothly.
1) Why is Biotin associated with hair? If you’ve ever wondered why your hairdresser mentions Biotin supplements for luscious locks, it’s because Biotin is a key player in maintaining healthy hair. It helps in the production of keratin, a protein essential for structure and growth. Hair companies often tout Biotin as a miracle ingredient, but there are many other nutrients that are more important for hair growth. Those include protein, iron, and zinc. It’s also crucial to remember that while Biotin supplements can be beneficial, you can't absorb Biotin through hair products. The molecules are simply too large to penetrate the skin. So next time you see a shampoo with Biotin, you’ll know that it’s just going down the drain.
2) What are the signs & symptoms of Biotin deficiency? A deficiency in Biotin is rare but can lead to brittle nails, hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, muscle pain, and even mild depression. These signs are like little red flags that our body waves when it's running low on this crucial nutrient. Checking the Biotin level in bloodwork is not common but can be done.
3) Does Biotin have other benefits or uses besides hair? Absolutely! Biotin is like a multitasking champ. Besides its hair-boosting powers, it supports metabolism, energy production, and helps keep your nervous system in top-notch condition. It also assists in fatty acid synthesis and helps your body utilize amino acids from proteins.
4) How much Biotin is needed? Now, let's talk about quantities... Prior to bariatric surgery, the average adult usually needs about 30 micrograms (mcg) of Biotin daily. However, after bariatric surgery, this requirement might increase. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) has not set a recommendation for Biotin after bariatric surgery. It's essential to consult your healthcare provider or dietitian to determine the right dosage for you based on your unique needs.
5) What foods provide Biotin? You'll find Biotin in a variety of foods, making it easier to incorporate into your diet. Foods like eggs, nuts, seeds, fish, meat, dairy products, and certain vegetables like sweet potatoes and spinach are rich sources of Biotin. Because the bariatric diet is high in protein, many patients consume Biotin every day through food!
6) What about Biotin supplements? Biotin in bariatric multivitamins varies among different brands and formulations. Some bariatric multivitamins do contain Biotin as part of their ingredient list. If your chosen bariatric multivitamin doesn't contain Biotin or the amount provided isn't sufficient for your needs, you may opt for a separate Biotin supplement. Always consult with your healthcare provider or dietitian before adding any new supplement to your regimen to ensure it aligns with your unique nutritional requirements.
Did you know the BariMelts Multivitamin, Multivitamin with Iron, and The Step Up™ all contain Biotin? Plus, we offer a standalone Biotin product to meet your needs! Be sure to check it out here: https://www.barimelts.com/products/biotin
If you're using Biotin supplements regularly and are scheduled for blood work, it's advisable to stop taking Biotin at least 72 hours (3 days) before the tests. This allows most of the Biotin to clear from your system, minimizing any potential interference.
The advantage of Biotin being water-soluble is that any surplus your body doesn't utilize is effectively eliminated through urine. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, which can accumulate and pose potential harm, water-soluble vitamins are typically safe even in higher quantities. You can have peace of mind knowing that your body efficiently manages excess Biotin. However, those excessive super mega doses of Biotin will only result in expensive urine, in my opinion!
In conclusion, Biotin is a small but mighty nutrient that can significantly impact your post- bariatric journey. Whether it's supporting your locks or boosting your overall health, this vitamin is undoubtedly a friend you want in your corner. Biotin deficiency is unlikely, but taking a bariatric multivitamin with Biotin is a smart way to ensure adequate intake.
BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.