My Research and Thoughts
When I started this it was a pretty quick read. Now it is getting a bit long so I have added a bit of a contents list which will jump you to the relevant section if you click on them.
Vitamin B group (the water soluble vitamins).
It has long been understood that B vitamins are involved with breaking down Carbohydrates and proteins into energy an amino acids needed to build healthy hair, nails and nerves.
The B group of vitamins are all water soluble vitamins, meaning that unused quantities are not stored in the body for later use, but rather continually flushed out by the liver in urine. This necessitates that they are continually replaced by your diet so that they are available when your body needs them. Many of these are involved in converting Proteins into energy and other building blocks (amino acids).
Vitamin B's, in particular, are linked to brain and nerve performance. Of particular interest at the moment is Vitamin B7 (H) or Biotin.
The Benefits of Biotin
Biotin (also known as vitamin H) is part of the B-complex group of vitamins that help the body convert food into fuel. Healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver depend on B-complex vitamins, and, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s website, “They also help the nervous system function properly.”
Although it’s rare to be biotin-deficient, symptoms can include hair loss, dry eyes, dry or scaly skin, fatigue, and insomnia. Certain conditions such as Crohn’s disease can lead to biotin deficiency due to problems with vitamin absorption.
Since there is potential for drug interaction, you should consult your doctor before you start supplementing with biotin.
Long-term use of antibiotics can kill certain gut bacteria responsible for biotin production, and anti-seizure medications can lower biotin levels in the body.
Even in high doses, this water-soluble B vitamin doesn’t have any known side effects and is considered to be nontoxic.
French Neurologist Frederic Medel (amongst others) under the Pharmaceutical company MedDay are currently running trials. Measuring how Biotin effects different symptoms of Progressive forms of Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS and SPMS). Here is the Manuscript they submitted to (and was accepted by) Neuropharmacology Journal which forms the crux of their theories and research. In which they hypothesize "that high dose Biotin is exerting a therapeutic effect in patients with progressive MS through two different and complementary mechanisms: by promoting axonal remyelination by promoting myelin production and by reducing axonal hypoxia through enhanced energy production". In short (and laymen terms), the two mechanisms are repairing the insulation around the nerves (the myelin) and increasing nerve signal strength (turning the voltage up to make the light bulb glow brighter).
Now I theorise that for most, sufficient levels of vitamins are obtained from a balanced diet. But for many we need help, and take supplements in all shapes and forms. Some of us need more of one and less of another and I feel we are starting to see this being linked to genetics, being more or less predisposed to certain ailments, such as cancers, MS etcetera.
The recommended daily Intake (or allowance, RDI/RDA) for Vitamin B7 (Biotin) is 10-30 mcg in most countries around the world. That is 10 micro grams, 10/1,000,000 of a gram.
10 mg, that's 10 milligrams (1000 times the RDI) has been provided as a dietary supplement for many years to help with hair, nail and skin care. Mainly promoted as helping with hair regrowth.
The French Pharmaceutical company have been trialing 100-500 mg for use in treating Progressive forms of Multiple Sclerosis. 100mg is 10,000 times the RDI. Or 10 times what is already readily available as a dietary supplement for promoting hair growth.
I have been taking 300mg a day for over a year (based on the MedDay trials). At first I took 100mg, three times a day. I found this a little harsh on my stomach. Additionally my research indicated unused quantities of the water soluble B vitamins are rapidly flushed out of the body in urine. A clear example of this is demonstrated by taking a multivitamin complex containing Riboflavin (another of the watersoluable B vitamins, B2). It has a bright yellow colour and has the effect of turning urine bright yellow as unused quantities are flushed out of the body by the liver. A clear (or rather bright yellow) Indication of how excess of the water soluble vitamins are flushed out and wasted. So I started taking 75mg of Biotin 4 times a day. I have found this easier on my system, and hopefully better utilised.
A useful comment at this point is how to identify a good form of Biotin (or other vitamin) you buy in a concentrated, powered form. Always ask for a Certificate of Analysis. They are pretty standard and should include an Impurities field. This is usually measured in an identifier like "NMT 2%" Meaning Not More Than 2%. Here's a typical Certificate of Analysis (CoA). This tells you that it is 99.44% pure. Pharmaceutical (Pharma) grade are around 97.5-98% pure. Manufacturing costs increase exponentially to closer the manufacturer gets to 100% pure. However, CoA's do not tell you everything you need to know about the Biotin you are buying.
Biotin is a chemical compound with the formula C10H16N2O3S. The compound is known as an isomer, as it can exist in different forms with the same chemical makeup. There are different types of isomers, structural and positional to name a couple but won't go into this detail here. Biotin can take the form of eight different isomers. The same chemical compound, but with different geometry. An easy way it was explained to me was having a left and right hand versions. But with Biotin there are 8 of them. Some of these occur naturally and some don't. Each of the naturally occurring isomers have different levels of biological availability to different organisms. As far as I can tell, the term D-Biotin is used rather generically to describe all the naturally occurring forms which can be from zero to around 50% biologically active. The most biologically active form appears to be one identified as d-(+)-biotin (that is d not D, there is a difference I found out recently, d has the same meaning as +). Now I make a concerted effort to ensure this is the type that is used in our formulations and is always greater than 99% pure and has a specific rotation greater than 92 degrees whenever possible. Purer than typical Pharma grade biotin and the highest positive spin (d). I have found that some suppliers are not able to tell what version of Biotin they supply is. Or even that that they are aware there is a difference.
The biotin molecule binds to a molecule called streptavidin very effectively. Many blood tests use streptavidin binding assays as part of their testing processes. As such, you should tell your Doctor before doing any blood or urine tests and stop taking biotin at least 5 days before giving blood or urine samples. Here is a list of tests that may be effected and some more interesting information regarding streptavidin binding of biotin.
My MS and Biotin
Since using the right (or as far as I can tell) the right Biotin my Multiple Sclerosis symptoms feel less pronounced. The most significant being my energy levels. I clearly do not suffer as much from fatigue. I can work longer hours physically and mentally and function at a higher level. More like my old self. Not feeling fatigued as much has made me faster, stronger and sharper again. Which maybe has also helped with my state of mental wellbeing. Other side effects from the MS-BIOTIN COMPLEX have all been good. My hair and skin have never looked better! My small bald batch I have been developing over the past 10 years seems to be diminishing. My skin has been commented on, by women, looking younger. Most importantly, regarding my MS, I have not felt this good in many years. I am now taking our MultipleSupplements BIOTIN COMPLEX four times a day and our MultipleSupplements PROBIOTIC formula once a day and recommend this to anyone wanting to try dietary supplements that may help bolster their neurological an intestinal systems.
Our MS-Biotin Complex also contains Vitamin D3, the sunshine vitamin. Which most multivitamin complexes do not contain.
Before I go into this a word of caution. High doses of vitamin D can cause ireversible kidney damage and other negative side effects such as weakening of the bones. DO NOT take high doses of Vitamin D without a health care professional monitoring you.
I have been taking Vitamin D at around 10,000IU/day for about 10 years. The more research I do the more I think it has slowed the progression of the disease over the past 16 years since diagnosis. About 12 months ago I came across Dr Coimbra and the work he has been doing over the past 15 years with Vitamin D in treating immune diseases.
Dr Coimbra is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is a professor at the University there, has held many positions at the main hospital (in neurilogical capacities) and has published numerous papers.
For the past 15 years or so he has been working on using vitamin D in treating various imune diseases, in particular Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It is reputed that he has treated 1000,s of MS patients in Bazil with sucess rates in halting the disease, and even reversing it, in the 90 percent range. With minimal negative side effects if minitored and doses adjusted corectly. To the point where he now has developed a protocol that he is teaching other Dr's around the world to use.
I see two neurologist here in NZ neither of which were interested in helping me with this protocol. Fortunately my GP was more open to the idea. Which his help and under the guidance of a Dr schooled in the protocol I hope to start it soon (written late Nov2016).
Watch this space for updates and here are some useful links.
I have put a few other links to knowledge on the web that I feel are relevant to my MS diet and dietary supplements below. Other information I find an updates on the progress I continue to make I will add to my blog.
Over coming MS - George Jellineck. A read I recommend to anyone diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. WebSite is here. Which recommends a diet much like Dr Swank but makes it a little easier to follow.
Biotin is already sold as a dietary supplement at 1000 times the Recommended Daily Intake (10,000 mcg) so it is only a small step to 100,000 mcg. I also liken it to Vitamin D which is recommended for people with MS to take in high doses well over the Recommended Daily Intake.
Is it safe? I don't know, but it looks like there are probably 1000's of people already taking it by them selves at 300,000 mcg/day. In all my reading I only came across one mention of a "life threatening" case involving Biotin, see here, and as they state, "Because of the potential for interactions, dietary supplements should not be taken with medication without first talking to an experienced healthcare provider." For me, as I said I feel great and haven't had any issues. I currently take Copaxone as my disease modifying drug.
A bit about my back ground
Born in the UK in 1968 to an English mother and Kiwi father, we emigrated to NZ when I was 12 with my younger brother, two older brothers staying in the UK.
I grew up and was schooled at Auckland Grammar and eventually trained as a mechanical engineer (although I haven't practiced engineering for a long time now!). I met my wife to be and we moved to the clean, green Waikato in the mid 90's where we have been, on and off, ever since.
I got a job designing rock crushing equipment for a small NZ manufacturer which became part of a large global organisation. I held various roles from product research and development, product Management through to Vice President Sales and Marketing. I have my name on various patents and have published papers on innovations in NZ. You can read more of my career in my LinkedIn profile if interested.
I finished up a contract as Vice President of Construction for Metso based in Brisbane Australia towards the end of 2010 and returned to New Zealand. Where I held a number of short term roles involving research, innovation and commercialisation, before setting up my own consulting firm.
I attribute my success in Engineering research and product development to my incessant need to understand why things are the way they are. Understanding the science behind why things work the way they do.
I now consult to various industries, providing market evaluation, business planning and commercialisation services. Specialising in businesses wanting to launch new products, services, or open up new markets for existing products.
The more I read and researched about MS and supplements, the more I needed to know. This is when I started my serious research into dietary supplements culminating in establishing MultipleSupplements.com.
Thanks for reading.
My quote: Human biochemistry is so incredibly complicated I think it will take a bigger brain that the human brain before it is fully understood