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Biotin is a coenzyme and a B vitamin, also known as vitamin H. As a supplement, biotin is sometimes used for diabetes, brittle nails, and other conditions.
Biotin plays a key role in the body. It supports the health of the skin, nerves, digestive tract, metabolism, and cells. Biotin may also help to treat some types of nerve pathology, such as the peripheral neuropathy that can result from renal failure or diabetes.
Biotin supplements have been studied as a treatment for a number of conditions. In people with type 2 diabetes, early research suggests that a combination of biotin and chromium might improve blood sugar. On its own, biotin might decrease insulin resistance and nerve symptoms related to type 2 diabetes. More research needs to be done. Some preliminary evidence suggests that biotin might help strengthen brittle nails. Other uses of biotin — for conditions like cradle cap, hepatitis, hair loss, and depression — are unsupported or untested.
However, most people don’t need biotin supplements. We get biotin in foods naturally. Our bodies also recycle the biotin we’ve already used. Genuine biotin deficiency is quite rare.
Pregnant women sometimes have low levels of biotin, so some take biotin supplements.