Pregnancy can be quite a stressful time. A mother’s body is going through so many changes and she finds herself with a new responsibility to a human life. There is often so much confusing information and so many questions she would like to ask. Fortunately, there are several websites to turn to for help. These websites, such as www.mommyauthority.com, have helpful articles, written by experts and people who care. In this article, we discuss why biotin is important to both a mother’s health and the health of her baby.
What is biotin?
Biotin is one of the B complex vitamins. It is less commonly known as vitamin B7. Vitamins like biotin have a very large number of roles in the human body. Most generally, they associate with certain proteins to help them build strong structures and to perform chemical reactions. Biotin is a water soluble vitamin which means that it is released from the body very easily. This means that biotin needs to be taken daily. Sources of biotin include nuts, whole grains, fish, pork, most fruits and vegetables and cooked eggs.
Biotin for the mother’s health
One of the major proteins that biotin is associated with is keratin. Keratin is a structural protein that forms part of the skin hair, and nails. A smaller deficiency in biotin may result in hair loss or brittle nails that break easily. Although this is not a major health concern, it can be a problem for the person suffering from it. A bigger deficiency can actually result in scaly and cracked skin, and an accompanying rash around the eyes nose, and mouth. This could have more serious complications.
An even more serious complication of a biotin deficiency is nerve damage. This is because biotin helps to metabolise certain other substances, which can contribute to neural degeneration.
Biotin is also a part of the enzymes (special proteins that drive chemical reactions) that are needed for fat storage (which is important during pregnancy), as well as the formation of new glucose from protein sources. This helps to maintain blood sugar levels which is important for maintaining the mother’s energy and for preventing pregnancy associated diabetes. Biotin also helps to improve insulin sensitivity, which is necessary for the cells of the body to take up the glucose (sugar) that is in the blood. Some scientific studies have also found that taking biotin reduces levels of unhealthy cholesterol, which reduces the risks of developing other complications during the pregnancy.
Biotin for the baby’s health
All of the factors that affect the mother’s health affect the baby’s health too. Biotin and keratin are necessary for the formation of the baby’s skin, hair, nails and other structures. Biotin may also have a role in regulating the simple nervous system of the baby.
The baby also requires sufficient glucose levels in the mother’s blood to sustain its own energy needs while growing. If the mother’s glucose levels are consistently low, it could stunt the baby’s growth.
A scientific study has also found that there is a strong link between a biotin deficiency during pregnancy and birth defects using animal studies. Embryo development is an incredibly busy process, where the baby’s genes are being expressed in complex ways. In order to get the genes to function properly, biotin and certain enzymes need to work properly. When there is a biotin deficiency, these processes don’t always happen correctly, and this can lead to a variety of abnormalities in the baby. These include cleft lip, cleft palate bone deficiencies.
Because a deficiency of biotin is so rare in non-pregnant woman, not many women consider biotin to be so important during pregnancy. But biotin is so important for both the mother’s and the baby’s health. Biotin is quite common in dietary sources, but for pregnancy it is a good idea to take biotin supplements just to make sure that you are receiving the right amount. There is no established value for the amount of biotin a person should take yet, but some experts say at least 100 micrograms a day is necessary. Some other studies show that 10000 micrograms is completely safe. Some supplements have very high levels of biotin and they should be alright to take, as long as you take them with a lot of water and consult a doctor just to be sure.