From Ergo Log
Large – but not absurdly so – doses of the vitamin biotin reduce the amount of triglycerides in the blood and they reduce fat mass too. Molecular researchers at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico discovered this when they did tests on mice. Might biotin be a useful slimming supplement?
Cardiologists discovered in the 1970s that if you give humans high doses of biotin you reduce the amount of lipids in their blood. [Kardiologiia. 1972 Dec;12(12):113.] [Artery. 1980;7(4):330-51.] This is appealing because triglycerides are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
The Mexicans revived this study in the hope that they might discover a way of helping people with high levels of cholesterol or triglycerides in their blood.
The researchers gave male mice feed containing either just enough biotin or feed containing extra biotin, for a period of eight weeks. The human equivalent of the biotin dose in the supplementation group was about 1 – 1.5 mg per day.
Supplying extra biotin reduced the triglyceride concentration in the blood by 35 percent.
The figure below shows the effect of biotin supplementation on the production of a number of proteins that cells use to store fat: glucose transporter-2 (GLUT2), glucokinase (GK), phosphofructokinase (PFK1), pyruvate kinase (PK), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH), acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 (ACC1), fatty acid synthase (FAS), stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD1), sterol regulatory element binding protein 1-c (SREBP1c), forkhead box O1 (FoxO1) and peroxisome proliferator receptor gamma (PPAR-gamma).
The first figure shows the production of lipogenic proteins in fat tissue; the second shows the production of lipogenic proteins in the liver. In fat cells, the administration of biotin reduced the production of all lipogenic proteins; in liver cells it reduced the production of most proteins.
The idea of using vitamins for medicinal purposes is not new. Doctors prescribe vitamin B3 to reduce excessive quantities of triglycerides in the bloodstream. Pharmacologists have also developed analogues of vitamin A and D for use as medicines.
So, goes the Mexicans’ reasoning, maybe doctors will also find medicinal applications for pharmacological doses of biotin, even though the pharmacological doses are not actually terribly high.
"The biotin content in commercial supplements for humans is 40- to 166-fold higher than the reference dietary intake of 30 microg/day", the researchers write. "The data in the present study showed that, in mice, a 55-fold increase in biotin concentration in the diet decreases serum triglycerides and the expression of lipogenic enzymes, providing molecular support to the effects of pharmacological concentrations of biotin on lipemia."
Might biotin work as a slimming supplement? The research results suggest this may be the case. At the end of the eight-week experiment the mice in the control group had 14.9 percent fat in their bodies. The mice in the biotin group had 12.6 percent.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2010 Oct 10;644(1-3):263-8.