Biotin Can Prevent Alzheimer's
When the nerves in our brains can’t talk to each other, it’s a problem. We may start to cognitively decline, lacking the ability to think clearly. As with most degenerative disease, the process can be complicated and cumulative, meaning it gets progressively worse over time making it harder to determine the initial underlying cause. But for tauopathies – diseases marked by brain protein tangles that muck everything up, physiologically speaking – mitochondrial dysfunction is often implicated. And mitochondria rely on Biotin.
The Tau of Microtubules
The cells of our brain and nervous system act like an Amazon distribution center, where packages are located and transported to another location within the center by way of a robotic transport system, the microtubule, similar to the tube system used at bank drive throughs. Except in the case of human brain cells, these transport microtubules are assembled and disassembled after each use. This may seem like a waste, but in reality, it is more efficient because it allows the cell to remain flexible instead of rigid with a permanent multi-microtubule structure in place, and it can recycle the proteins needed to make new transportation microtubules instead of accumulating them all leading to congestion.
And this is the malfunction that occurs in Alzheimer's - these protein microtubules that are not disassembled after use build up, and are called tangles. More specifically they are called microtubule or tubule-associated-unit, tau for short, and the disease is call tauopathy. Tauopathy refers to neurodegenerative disease marked by tangles of structural proteins (tau protein) that impair nerve cell function and nerve cell communication in the brain. New research suggests biotin deficiency may be a contributing factor.
The Mighty Mitochondria
The energy needed to power our brain cells is the mitochondria, or the furnace for the each cell. When the cell's power center, the mitochondria, is not functioning well, nothing in the cell is functioning well, most notably, microtubule assembly and disassembly. We call this mitochondrial dysfunction. It’s really just a tired cell with no energy. (Where the mitochondria came from is a story for another time, as they are not of human origin and have their own non-human DNA!).
What Causes Mitochondrial Dysfunction?
One huge factor that leads to mitochondrial dysfunction is biotin deficiency. The mitochondria needs biotin to create energy. Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is an essential cofactor to at least four key enzymes found in the mitochondria required for the mitochondria to function properly. Co-factors are like factory foreman who direct how the factory should function and enzymes are like the machines that work in the factory. These enzymes are called carboxylase enzymes, but the key point is that “biotin depletion alone causes mitochondrial pathology and neurodegeneration” proceedings from the National Academy of Science, December 2020, Biotin rescues mitochondrial dysfunction and neurotoxicity in a tauopathy model.
Biotin and Tauopathy
Biotin levels, particularly in its role in these important carboxylase enzymes, are reduced in people that have tauopathy diseases. Alzheimer’s is the most well-known tauopathy disease, and biotin levels are lower in human brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Biotin repletion may be a potential therapy in some tauopathy-based diseases. Biotin deficiency can be due to inhibition of absorption from alcohol or stomach acid problems or genetics.
Symptoms of Biotin Deficiency
Common symptoms for biotin deficiency are brittle nails, thin hair or dermatitis due to its role in fatty acid synthesis, but these are by far not the only symptoms. Many manifestations of biotin deficiency are much more subtle like impaired ability to metabolize carbohydrates, or the most commonly presenting symptom in family practice – fatigue. In fact, biotin status even impacts how our genes are expressed since there are over 2,000 known biotin-dependent genes.
Can I be Tested for Biotin Deficiency?
We can test for biotin deficiency as well as 34 other micronutrients by sending your blood to Spectracell, a testing company associated with the University of Texas. SpectraCell micronutrient testing is a state-of-the-art blood test that tells you the nutrients in which you are deficient, regardless of symptoms or cause, so you can correct it and achieve true cellular — and by extension, whole-body — health. See link at Our Science | SpectraCell Laboratories (sitewrench.com).
If you would like to be tested for biotin and other vitamin deficiencies please book online or give us a call 302-227-1079. You can book "Spectracell Micronutrient Testing" here Renove Med Spa (booker.com) listed under the Wellness and Integrative Health tab.
How Can I begin Supplementing with Biotin Now?
All vitamins work together and interact with each other, and often over supplementing with one vitamin can lead to a steal or deficiency in another vitamin, so I do not recommend supplementing one vitamin in isolation without testing for an actual deficiency. If you have been tested and you know you are deficient in biotin, a good supplementation dose is 1,000 to 5,000 micrograms a day. Biotin is a water soluble "B" vitamin and there is no known upper limit of safety, as excess biotin, is disposed of in the urine. The best dietary sources of biotin, are chicken and beef liver, egg yolks and peanuts. High-dose biotin, 300 mg/day (or 300,000 micrograms) has been used in clinical trials for treatment of multiple sclerosis and has been found to be safe. I will recommend no more than 5,000 micrograms daily. Yes biotin helps hair and nails too, and was briefly called vitamin H for the German scientist who also discovered biotin and found that deficiency let to brittle haar und haut, hair and nails.
Specific biotin supplements I recommend are:
Jarrow Formulas Biotin biotin-only product, offering 5,000 micrograms of d-biotin, the naturally occurring form of biotin. Certified-Gluten Free by NSF, this product is also free of wheat, gluten, soybeans, dairy, egg, fish/shellfish, and peanuts/tree nuts.
Country Life Maxi Hair contains a specific blend of nutrients to support hair health. In addition to 5,000 micrograms of biotin, this product contains a blend of unique vitamins and minerals as well as Methylsulfonylmethane (an anti-inflammatory agent),4 horsetail extract, L-cysteine, and L-Methionine (an essential amino acid).
Ticking off major boxes such as certified gluten-free and vegetarian, this product is also free of milk, wheat, soy, preservative, and magnesium stearate.
You can purchase these online through our Wellevate store for an online discount. Wellevate Supplements | Renove (renovemedspa.org) or email/contact us for an email link to purchase. Go to https://wellevate.me/michelle-parsons and set up your account and Dr. Parsons will send you an invitation with a recommended protocol.
My undergraduate training was in Nutrition and Biochemistry with an emphasis on Vitamin and Mineral Metabolism. I always hoped one day to to be able to instruct my patients on the importance of vitamin and minerals and nutrition as the key to healthy biochemistry to as stay healthy as possible. Some 30 years since I was at college at Rutgers University I finally get my chance!
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