Biotin acts as a coenzyme that helps transport carbon dioxide between compounds. Biotin also plays a role in protein synthesis, the formation of long-chain fatty acids and the Krebs cycle, the basic biological process that releases energy from food.
Most people aren’t deficient in biotin; however, deficiency may occur in people who suffer from absorption problems such as Crohn’s disease. Additionally, some infants suffer from a genetic disorder that interferes with their ability to absorb biotin.
Biotin is best known for its role in strengthening fingernails and hair by helping the body utilize fatty acids to create keratin, the protein that comprises nails and hair.
Biotin supplementation also shows promise for diabetics. Several studies show that biotin can enhance the performance of insulin. In one small study, researchers found that a 16,000 mcg daily dose of biotin decreased blood glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes after one week. In another study, researchers found that a 9,000 mcg daily dose of biotin decreased fasting blood glucose levels by approximately 50 percent in people with type 2 diabetics after one month of treatment.