Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin which was first isolated in 1936. It is naturally produced in the body by intestinal bacteria and is an essential co-factor for several enzymes. Biotin is essential for carbohydrate metabolism and the synthesis of fatty acids. It is also implicated in the conversion of amino acids into proteins. In addition to its role in metabolism and synthesis of carbohydrates and proteins, biotin is essential for cellular energy and helps support healthy hair, skin and nails, which is one of the main reasons why it is a popular supplement among consumers.
Sulfa drugs, estrogen, alcohol consumption, and kidney dialysis may raise biotin requirements. Prolonged use of anticonvulsant drugs may lead to biotin deficiency, requiring supplementation. Long-term use of antibiotics can affect the balance of the digestive system and reduce or stop the production of biotin by intestinal bacteria, making supplementation from food sources or dietary supplements necessary. As always, individuals with a known or suspected medical condition should always talk to a licensed medical professional before beginning any form of supplementation.