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Published By: K.D Cameron
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General information

Biotin belongs to the group of B vitamins and is also known as vitamin H. It is a water soluble nutrient which means that the body does not store it. Nevertheless, some intestinal bacteria can synthesise it.

Since biotin is a part of the group of B vitamins, its main beneficial action is to help the body convert food into energy. B vitamins also participate in the metabolism of fats, protein and amino acids. They are important for the health of skin, hair, eyes, liver etc. You have probably often found biotin in cosmetic products for nails and hair strengthening. Biotin also supports the proper functioning of the nervous system, helps for the production of digestive enzymes and antibodies while playing a role in the better absorption of other B vitamins such as folic acid and vitamin B-12. Biotin acts as a catalyst to the chemical reaction known as fixation of carbon dioxide which actually assists the transportation of carbon dioxide throughout the body during the processing of carbohydrates and fats. Biotin is important for the normal embryonic development which makes it an important nutrient for pregnant women.

The human body may rarely suffer from biotin deficit since this substance is found in many foods such as oatmeal, wholegrain foods, salmon, banana, liver, sunflower, soy, eggs, meat, nuts, peas, mushrooms etc. Biotin deficit symptoms include hair loss, dry skin, cracking of the corners of the mouth (called cheilitis), swollen tongue, dry eyes, loss of appetite, fatigue, depression etc. Biotin deficit is usually found in people who have been on parenteral nutrition for a long period of time, as well as in those who have taken antibiotics.  

Beneficial action of biotin

1. Some evidence shows that biotin

may improve the strength of nails and hair if they are thin and fragile. Furthermore, biotin, in combination with zinc and clobetasol propionate, is used to fight alopecia areata in children and adults.

2. Seborrheic Dermatitis

The scalp of babies who have deficit in biotin is often covered with scales. However, there is no sufficient research suggesting that if the breastfeeding woman takes biotin it will improve the skin condition of her baby’s scalp. Consult your physician before taking any supplement, especially if you are breastfeeding. 

3. Diabetes

Preliminary studies reveal that the combination of biotin and chromium might improve blood sugar control in some people with type 2 diabetes.

4. Peripheral Neuropathy

There have been reports that biotin may manage the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in patients who have developed this condition as a consequence of diabetes or renal insufficiency. Peripheral neuropathy is a damage to the nerves of the hands and legs which manifests itself in numbness, tingling, burning, pain and muscle weakness.

5. Other

Some studies show that biotin can help restore the sense of taste in people who have lost it. To achieve this effect patients supplement their diets with 10-20 mg of biotin. Further research is needed in this respect.

Dosage and toxicity

Biotin is considered to be safe and non-toxic. The surplus quantity is discharged through urine. Biotin is often included in multivitamin supplements as well as in B-complex supplements. The recommended daily intake is as follows:

Age

Biotin. Recommended daily intake

0-6 months

5 mcgper day

7-12 months

6 mcg per day

1-3 years

8 mcg per day

4-8 years

12 mcg per day

9-13 years

20 mcg per day

14-18 years

25 mcg per day

19 years and older

30 mcg per day

Pregnant women

30 mcg per day

Breastfeeding women

35 mcg per day

You must consult your physician on every supplement. Your physician will decide best what to prescribe you and in what dosage.  

 

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