What Is Vitamin H & Why Do You Need It?
Vitamin H is one of the lesser-known vitamins that nevertheless plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy balanced diet. It is also reputed to improve various common health conditions. So what is Vitamin H? What are the natural sources of this vitamin and is it worth supplementing your vitamin H intake?
The Same Under Another Name
Although not as famous as Vitamins D, C, B and E, many people will have heard of Vitamin H under its colloquial name Biotin. Biotin/vitamin H is not actually an independent vitamin, but forms part of the family of B complex vitamins. On a day-to-day basis it plays an important metabolic role converting carbohydrates (especially sugars) into available energy. For this reason some people take Vitamin H supplements as part of a weight loss diet, although this isn’t the best use of Vitamin H supplementation. More effective weight loss supplements are available.
Why Take Vitamin H?
Everyone needs a baseline level of biotin in their diet to maintain a healthy metabolism. For an adult of average weight, the normal intake is 30-100 µg per day. This can come from food or supplements. We will discuss sources of Vitamin H shortly. To help treat specific conditions, you may want to increase your Vitamin H intake beyond this level.
Health Benefits Of Vitamin H
Above normal dosing of Vitamin H has been linked to positive outcomes in a range of health conditions. These include:
- Cradle Cap in children - a skin condition that affects the scalp (seborrheic dermatitis).
- Brittle finger and toenails.
- Poor hair condition or hair loss.
These issues can all result from a Vitamin H deficiency, so supplementing with biotin can help redress the balance.
Biotin & Pregnancy
Sustaining a healthy level of biotin has a positive impact on your skin, liver and nervous system. It also plays an important role in embryonic development. Expectant mothers may consider taking additional Vitamin H during pregnancy, to help their baby and avoid the symptoms of personal Vitamin H deficiency. This being said, studies1 have shown that biotin deficiency in pregnancy is rare, so this should not be a cause for undue concern.
Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition2 has also linked Vitamin H with antidiabetic properties, due to its effect in regulating glucose levels in the blood.
In fact, biotin is an all-round positive addition to a person’s diet. The name comes from the Greek word biotos - denoting life and well-being. Vitamin H is a very beneficial substance, but should not be used to treat a health condition on its own. We can’t recommend strongly enough that you consult a doctor about any health concern before taking supplements.
Sources of Vitamin H
Vitamin H can be found in a wide range of foods, including:
- Egg yolks
- Many pulses and whole grains
- Brewer’s yeast
Many people find they get enough Vitamin H naturally in their diet not to worry about supplements, but increasing your intake can only be a good thing. Vitamin H is completely non-toxic, even when taken in large therapeutic doses (2000 µg plus). Any surplus is harmlessly expelled in your urine.
Vitamin H is rarely taken as a supplement on its own, although seaweed and kelp based supplements are very high in Vitamin H. As a Vitamin B complex, Vitamin H works well in conjunction with Vitamins B6 or B12, and is commonly found in multivitamin and mineral supplements. We have several such supplements available at Hellenia that provide all your recommended daily Vitamin H. These will help sustain healthy growth, blood pressure and muscle function on a day-to-day basis.