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While perusing the shelves at your local drugstore or natural health foods shop, you've probably stumbled across a bottle labeled "Biotin." "These B complex vitamins (also known as vitamin H) are important in metabolism, helping your body to process energy and transporting carbon dioxide from your body's cells," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Susan Stuart.
Lofty claims that biotin can help grow healthier and stronger hair, skin and nails has sparked a generation of pill-popping women who desire these beauty benefits. But is it doing more harm than good to their bodies?
Dr. Richard Scher, a dermatologist who is widely known for his expertise on nail care and disorders, argues that it isn't totally clear what role biotin plays. However, he believes taking the vitamin does improve the keratin infrastructure (a basic protein that makes up hair, skin and nails).
"Biotin deficiency is rare and low levels may result in brittle nails and hair loss," explains Dr. Stuart. "However, hair loss and brittle nails may have multiple causes and taking biotin supplements may actually halt this process and even help to reverse it."
The general daily recommended dosage of biotin is 2.5 mg (or 2,500 mcg), according to Dr. Scher. However, it's not clear what the correct dosage is for the full effect, but it's important to consult your doctor to avoid overdosing. Dr. Stuart suggests looking out for these possible signs of biotin overdose: slower release of insulin, skin rashes, lower vitamin C and B6 levels and high blood sugar levels.
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