What’s it for?
Biotin is an essential water-soluble B vitamin sometime referred to as Vitamin H. It is necessary for the production of fatty acids, the metabolism of amino acids and fat, thus playing a role in energy levels and it also plays a rather necessary role in cell growth. Biotin also assists as an enzyme in many metabolic activities such as blood sugar regulation and the metabolism of carbohydrates.
Where do I get it?
Biotin is found in a wide variety of foods, most notably in liver, salmon, bananas, egg yolks, brewer’s yeast, legumes and mushrooms.
The Science of Vitamin
Biotin is a cofactor that attaches to several carboxylase enzymes thus important in fatty acid synthesis, amino acid catabolism and gluconeogenesis. Biotin also attachés to protein molecules a process known as biotinylation which through a complex series of reactions has been found to have an impact on regulating DNA replication and transcription.
Supplements of Vitamin
Biotin supplementation varies in strength of dosage and is often synthetic. Biotin deficiency can impair glucose regulation and may be of benefit in reduction of blood glucose levels in diabetic. Biotin has also been found to stimulate the secretion of insulin in rats, thus lowering glucose levels, but has not been sufficiently studied in humans.
Biotin supplementation has also been proven to help with treatment of brittle finger nails, however there is no sufficient evidence that it has effect on hair loss.
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA)
Infants 0-6 months Males – 5mcg/day Females – 5mcg/day
Infants 7-12 months Males – 6mcg/day Females – 6mcg/day
Children 1-3 years Males – 8mcg/day Females – 8mcg/day
Children 4-8 years Males – 12mcg/day Females – 12mcg/day
Children 9-13 years Males – 20mcg/day Females – 20mcg/day
Adolescents 14-18 years Males – 25mcg/day Females – 25mcg/day
Adults 19 years and up Males – 30mcg/day Females – 30mcg/day
Pregnancy all ages Females – 30mcg/day
Breast-feeding all ages Females – 35mcg/day
Toxicity of Supplementing with Biotin
Oral supplementation with Biotin has not shown to be toxic.
Deficiency of Biotin
Although rare a deficiency may show signs of hair loss, scaly red rash around eyes, nose and mouth and genital. Conjunctivitis – irritation of the conjunctive of the eyes. Biotin deficiency can also cause neurological symptoms of depression, lethargy, numbness and tingling of arms and legs, and hallucinations.
The term ‘biotin-deficient face’ refers to the facial rash and an unusual facial fat distribution, often exhibited by biotin deficient people who have a hereditary disorder of biotin deficiency.
Research indicates that biotin is broken down more rapidly during pregnancy and that the nutritional status of biotin decreases during the pregnancy term which has been related to birth defects. Supplementation is often recommended along with folic acid.