©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Biotin can strengthen fingernails, but its biggest impact may be in controlling diabetes.

Benefits of Biotin

Back in the 1940s, livestock researchers noticed that biotin made horse and pig hooves harder and stronger. More recently, this vitamin has been shown to strengthen nails in people whose nails are brittle. Daily supplementation of 2,500 mcg significantly increased nail thickness in about 90 percent of the patients.

Biotin is successful in treating cradle cap -- the dry or greasy scaly patches that form on the scalp of some infants. Although large studies have not been done on this use of biotin, infants' scalp conditions improved when their mothers were given extra biotin. Non-nursing infants benefited from direct supplementation.

Additional biotin does not seem to help seborrheic dermatitis, which is the same condition when it occurs in adults. Biotin's role in proper fatty acid metabolism may be responsible for its cradle-cap success.

Diabetics may also benefit from biotin supplementation. In both insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetes, supplementation with biotin can improve blood sugar control and help lower fasting blood glucose levels, in some studies the reduction in fasting glucose exceeded 50 percent! Biotin can also play a role in preventing the neuropathy often associated with diabetes, reducing both the numbness and tingling associated with poor glucose control.

A typical dose for nursing mothers is 3,000 mcg twice a day. Non-nursing infants respond with 300 mcg per day. It's also a good idea to give non-nursing infants supplements of "friendly" bacteria such as Bifidobacterium bifidum to establish healthy intestinal flora that will produce biotin. People with diabetes have noticed good results at a dosage level of 8 milligrams (8,000 mcg) taken twice a day.

You probably didn't know you were getting more biotin than you needed already in your diet. But we hope this article enlightened the special-needs readers and help you get the proper dose.

Biotin is just one of the many vitamins that are part of a healthy diet. Check out the following links to learn more:
  • Relax; you'll find the stress-busting vitamin B5 in every food you eat. Learn about it at How Vitamin B5 Works.
  • Vitamin B6 is effective against more than 100 ailments. How Vitamin B6 Works will explain the details and tell you how to get enough in your diet.
  • Folate is necessary for healthy growth, because it makes DNA and RNA. Learn how it manufactures cells at How Folate Works.
  • Vitamin B12, which helps folate make cells, works differently than any other vitamin. Learn the details at How Vitamin B12 Works.
  • Everyone knows vitamin C fights the common cold. Learn how it does the trick at How Vitamin C Works.
  • To learn about the many vitamins in our diet, how much you should be eating, and where to find them, go to our general Vitamins page.
  • If you were looking for the best prices on B vitamin supplements, click here.

Jennifer Brett, N.D. is director of the Acupuncture Institute for the University of Bridgeport, where she also serves on the faculty for the College of Naturopathic Medicine. A recognized leader in her field with an extensive background in treating a wide variety of disorders utilizing nutritional and botanical remedies, Dr. Brett has appeared on WABC TV (NYC) and on Good Morning America to discuss utilizing herbs for health.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.