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Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7, Vitamin H and Hair Vitamin – is another important nutrient our body needs to function properly. In this article we explore what Biotin is, where can we obtain it, Biotin Health benefits, Deficiency symptoms and causes as well as Reccomended Daily Allowance.

What is Biotin

Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 or Vitamin H, belongs to the vitamin B complex. Like the other vitamins in the complex, it plays a role in converting food into energy.

It was discovered in 1927 by biochemist M.A. Boas but it took another 40 years of research before it was included in vitamins.

If the levels of biotin in our body are adequate, then we will see that our hair, nails and skin are in very good condition.

It is a necessary nutrient for pregnant women, and is included in most multivitamins given, and has also been discovered to help the liver function properly.

Biotin (Vitamin B7) is a water-soluble vitamin that (as a carboxylase coenzyme) is needed for the metabolism of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates and also for the epigenetic expression of genes (mainly through its effect on histones).

The letter H represents ”Haar” und ”Haut”, which in German means “hair and skin”.

Biotin Foods

Although you can get biotin in supplement form, it would be even better to include the following foods in your diet, which are rich sources of this important vitamin.

  • Eggs: We find biotin in the egg yolk – which is one of the richest sources of biotin. Remember that the longer you cook the egg, the more the vitamin levels drop, so don’t overdo it.
  • Almonds: Almonds are just one of many delicious plant-based sources of biotin. We also find it in soybeans, peanuts, green beans, walnuts, and pecans. And don’t forget that these nuts also contain protein and vitamin E.
  • Cauliflower: Raw cauliflower contains 17 μg of biotin per serving, so it’s a great idea to eat it raw, topped with your favorite spices.
  • Cheese: Most dairy products contain significant amounts of biotin, and the types that contain the most are blue cheese, Camembert, and cheddar.
  • Mushrooms: The biotin contained in mushrooms helps protect them from pests while they are growing. Buy mushrooms that can be eaten raw to absorb as much biotin as possible.
  • Sweet potato: Sweet potatoes are one of the best plant-based sources of biotin. Plus, as they contain beta-carotene, they are an excellent ally for our skin. Try mashed sweet potatoes, or cut them open and roast them in the oven with spices.
  • Spinach: Spinach is one of the green leafy vegetables with the highest concentration of biotin. The best part is that Biotin levels decrease if you freeze them.

Related: Vitamin C: Sources, Health Benefits, Deficiency, Side effects, RDA

Biotin Recommended Daily Intake

The recommended daily intake for adults is 30 mg. Therapeutic dosage varies from 100-300 mg.

Birth to 6 months5 mcg5 mcg
7–12 months6 mcg6 mcg
1–3 years8 mcg8 mcg
4–8 years12 mcg12 mcg
9–13 years20 mcg20 mcg
14–18 years25 mcg25 mcg30 mcg35 mcg
19+ years30 mcg30 mcg30 mcg35 mcg

Top 10 Biotin Sources

FoodAmountMcgDV (%)
Beef liver (cooked)84 gr31 mcg100%
Chicken liver84 gr138 mcg450%
Egg (whole)1 Egg10 mcg33%
Sunflower seeds20 gr2.6 mcg9%
Peanuts28 gr5 mcg17%
Soybeans (edamame)100 gr19.3 mcg64%
Sweet potatoes125 gr2.4 mcg8%
Button Mushrooms70 gr5.6 mcg19%
Salmon84 gr5 mcg17%
Nutritional Yeast16 gr21 mcg70%
Avocados200 gr1.85 mcg6%

Biotin Health Benefits

Biotin (Vitamin B7) provides daily support for our bodily functions, such as:

  • It strengthens and maintains healthy hair, nails and skin.
  • Acts protectively against infections and acne and deeply hydrates. Many cosmetic industries have incorporated it into their products.
  • It aids metabolism by breaking down carbohydrates so that they can be more easily circulated in the body as energy.
  • It oversees all metabolic functions especially those related to the control of blood sugars because it activates insulin secretion.
  • It reduces the blood pressure of those suffering from diabetes and diabetic peripheral neuropathy and protects against metabolic syndrome and obesity.
  • Biotin shields the heart and prevents inflammation, heart attacks, strokes and atherosclerosis.
  • It acts beneficially by increasing ”good” cholesterol, stimulating the activity of neurotransmitters and transmitting nerve signals.
  • B vitamins work together to fight anemia and Alzheimer’s.
  • Its contribution is also important for the proper functioning of the thyroid
  • Biotin plays an important role for the protection and growth of muscles and tissues, restoring their cohesion.

Related: Best Foods for Type 2 Diabetes: Delicious and Nutritious Options

Biotin Deficiency

Biotin deficiency is more likely in people with conditions that affect the absorption of nutrients by the body (e.g. Crohn’s disease) and in people taking certain medications (e.g. anti-epilepsy medications or long-term antibiotic treatment).

The most common cause of biotin deficiency is biotinidase deficiency (BTD), a rare inherited disorder in which the body is unable to utilize biotin and which is caused by a mutation in the biotinidase gene. This gene directs the production of biotinidase, an enzyme essential for the extraction of biotin from food.

Biotin (Vitamin B7): Sources, Health Benefits, Deficiency, RDA
~ Biotin – among others – is responsible for strong and healthy nails

Reduction in Biotinidase

Biotin enters the bloodstream after being released in the small intestine from the amino acids bound by the enzyme biotinidase.

Rarely, 1 in 60,000 children are born with an inherited reduction in Biotinidase so all newborns need to be screened for this condition.

This is inherited by autosomal recessive inheritance, so there is a 25% chance of disease when both parents are carriers (1:120 people are carriers) of a mutation in the BTD gene that makes Biotinidase.

(There is a 50% chance of a carrier child being born without the disease and a 25% chance of neither being a carrier).

The lack of it usually becomes apparent in the first few days of life, but rarely can be seen in adulthood.

Related: Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): Health Benefits, Sources, Side effects

Deficiency Symptoms

Reduction of Biotin in the body can occur mainly in the following cases:

  • In pregnant and lactating women
  • In pregnant women, pregnant women and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • In constant consumption of uncooked egg whites (they contain the substance avidin which combines with Biotin and inhibits its action)
  • In long-term use of antiepileptic drugs (e.g. primidone (Mysoline), phenytoin (Dilantin), carbamazepine (Tegretol))
  • In reduction of the enzyme biotinidase.

Symptoms caused by its lack are

  • hair loss,
  • brittle nails,
  • dermatitis (mainly around the mouth, nose, eyes),
  • conjunctivitis (pink eye)

Its deficiency causes

  • psycho-neurological problems such as depression, ataxia, lack of coordination,
  • learning disorders
  • hallucinations
  • delusions
  • lethargy
  • retarded development
  • convulsions
  • muscle pains
  • anemia
  • lactic acidosis

Biotin Toxicity

Possible side effects in terms of toxicity in cases of overdose have not been reported. However, interaction with other vitamins should be taken into account when the recommended dose is exceeded.

Biotin And Hair Growth

How does Biotin help hair grow longer?

Biotin is rightly called “hair food” because it helps hair grow longer quickly. Of course, no one has seen their hair grow long overnight.

Hair have the same need for care as the body does in order to stay healthy and they need extra time and patience.

woman with healthy long hair
~ Biotin is also known as ”hair vitamin”

Two proteins in the body, biotin and keratin, play an important role in hair growth. Keratin is a protein that the body produces on its own and is already present in the hair, skin and nails.

Biotin on the other hand, when present in abundance, enhances the production of keratin. So in order for hair to grow you need to take in sufficient amounts of biotin.

If you take enough biotin, you will see your hair grow longer in the first month or so. However, there are people who have seen a difference from the first 2 weeks.

Biotin Supplements

Here are some of the Best biotin supplements you can purchase online.

1️⃣Pure Encapsulations120 capsules8 mg
2️⃣Thorne Research60 capsules8 mg
3️⃣Sport Research120 softgels10 mg
4️⃣Puritans Pride100 capsules10 mg
5️⃣Solgar60 capsules10 mg

Final Take

Biotin plays a big role in skin and hair growth. It is contained in many cosmetic formulations and shampoos. It has been used to treat hair loss and seborrheic dermatitis.

Biotin is probably also involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus by reducing glucose levels and preventing the development of diabetic nephropathy. It is also used to treat muscle pains and dermatitis.

The bioavailability of biotin varies between different foods, due to the different degree of absorption of different biotin complexes. Biotin is destroyed by heat particularly in the presence of oxidized fats and is unstable in oxidative situations.

People who eat raw eggs for long periods may be deficient in biotin, as it binds to the egg protein avidin and becomes inactive. In contrast, in the cooked egg, avidin is denatured and loses its ability to bind to biotin.

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