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Patients suffering from diabetes need to have adequate control of their blood sugar in order to avoid long-term irreversible health consequences. One way to potentially help regulate blood sugar is by taking biotin to help lower sugar, but does it help?

In the modern world, there is a growing trend to use supplements and other holistic treatments instead of turning to Big Pharma and using synthetic medications. Biotin is one of these supplements that has been touted as a supplement that has numerous potential effects on our organism. One of the most apparent connections is using biotin for hair growth when you are seeking a hair loss treatment [1]. Another claim that has been linked with biotin is its potential use as a sugar lowering agent. Here, we will explore if there really is a connection between biotin and diabetes. 

The Connection Between Biotin and Diabetes 

Bioton, or vitamin B7, is an essential factor in a number of different reactions in the body. When considering what some of these reactions are, it makes sense that there may be some type of connection between biotin and diabetes.. Biotin is an important cofactor in metabolic reactions that help process sugar and digest it so if you take higher amounts of biotin, there should be at least a small drop in your sugar levels. [2] Let's end the speculation once and for all and put more science behind this claim. 

In one investigation, the effect of biotin on Type 2 diabetic rats was observed. In this study, 90 rats with diabetes were split into 5 separate groups to determine the ideal concentration biotin requires in order to have an effect on sugar levels. After a 2 month investigation, it was determined that rats that were part of the high biotin study produced a statistically significant decrease in the levels of sugar after meals compared to the controls. [3]

The mechanism behind why this happens is because biotin stimulates the expression of genes that degrade sugar. In simple terms, this means that the higher the biotin levels are, the more enzymes responsible for digesting sugar will be activated. Some of the most prominent enzymes that are created by biotin would be insulin, insulin receptors and glucokinase receptors. Biotin also stops the expression of genes in the liver responsible for creating higher levels of sugar. Studies also show that the patients suffering from biotin deficiencies are also more likely to have problems processing sugar much like patients who suffer from diabetes will experience. Because of these mechanisms, it is believed that patients should benefit from taking biotin to help control hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia. [4]

Is This Actually a Potential Therapy?   

The theories and animal studies are surely promising but we have seen this before in our investigation of biotin where the effects of biotin are exaggerated when it comes to clinical effectiveness. Biotin for hair growth was only effective as a hair loss treatment in patients who had already suffered from a biotin deficiency. The same could be said for the treatment of brittle nails and with biotin treating acne

An unfortunate thing is that there are not many investigations on the effects of biotin on humans that are suffering from diabetes. In one recent study conducted on patients in Iran suffering from Type 1 Diabetes, the effects of biotin were tested on the patients at the pre-clinical trial stage. In it, 70 patients were split into two groups and blood sugar levels were monitored for a period of 3 months. In the study, participants in the biotin group improved their sugar levels from 9.84 to 8.88 after 3 months compared to those in the control group who went from 9.39 to 10.11 by the time of the last measurements. This showed that there was a statistically significant difference between those who were taking biotin compared to those who were not. [5]

There are several issues with this investigation, however, that can make accurate conclusions hard to draw.  First of all, adequate glucose control should be near 6.5 instead of such high numbers so it is problematic that even after having physician guidance during the experiment, patients still have poor glycemic control. This suggests that patients were not taking their medications properly. Another thing that is unsettling is that there was such a difference in the baseline of the patients who began the investigation. Patients should have values that are close to each other before an intervention is started to show more promising conclusions. Therefore, even if the trends are impressive showing that biotin did seem to make a difference, the magnitude of the benefits could be much less dramatic if you were to conduct this investigation once again and may not even be significant.  

All in all, there is some evidence that shows that biotin does have some benefit when it comes to regulating sugar levels. We have shown that there is some connection between biotin and diabetes, but until there are more clinical trails designed more appropriately, it is impossible to claim that biotin will lower your blood sugar levels without further investigation. There have been no studies on the benefits of biotin and Type 2 diabetes, a much more common sickness in the modern world, which leads me to believe that the science had not yet discovered a statistically significant effect.

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