The Health Benefits of Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

The Health Benefits of Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

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Introduction & Biological Function

Let’s talk about Biotin, also known as vitamin B7. Vitamin B7 is an essential, water-soluble vitamin. It is a co-factor used in the synthesis and metabolism of fatty acids, amino acids including branched chain amino acids as well as glucose synthesis. It is also very important for the developing fetus in utero, making it a critical nutrient during pregnancy.

Biotin Supplement Options: http://amzn.to/2pcszQb

Potential Benefits

It is often included in many cosmetic and hair products as a hair strengthening compound. Unfortunately, there are not many good studies evaluating the benefits of biotin as a supplement.

The only well substantiated evidence for biotin supplementation is to prevent biotin deficiency in those who are at risk. That includes individuals who are pregnant, malnourished, on tube feeds, etc.

Potential benefits with little or weak evidence (requiring more research)

  • Skin rash in infants (seborrheic dermatitis).
  • Hair loss.
  • Diabetes.
  • Diabetic nerve pain (AKA peripheral neuropathy)
  • Brittle fingernails and toenails.

Best Dietary Sources

  • Brewer's yeast
  • Cooked eggs, especially egg yolk
  • Sardines
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts) and nut butters
  • Soybeans
  • Legumes (beans, blackeye peas)
  • Whole grains
  • Cauliflower
  • Bananas
  • Mushrooms
  • Supplement

Note: Raw eggs contain a protein called Avidin that interferes with the body's absorption of biotin.

Side Effects/ Toxicity

Biotin is generally considered to be safe and non-toxic. No known side effects have been documented from supplementation up to 10 mg/day. However, it is recommended you talk to your doctor before you start supplementing biotin.

Deficiency

Biotin deficiency has been associated with Hair loss, Dry scaly skin, Cracking in the corners of the mouth (called cheilitis), Swollen and painful tongue that is magenta in color (glossitis), Dry eyes, Loss of appetite, Fatigue, Insomnia, Depression.

Recommended Dietary Allowance

There is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) established for biotin. General guidelines from NIH are as follows:

  • 30 mcg for adults over 18 years and pregnant women
  • 35 mcg for breast-feeding women.

Related Links (View All: Vitamins | Minerals | Supplements )

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