Biotin (Vitamin B7, vitamin B8, vitamin H)

There are various forms of biotin and they all belong to the family of B vitamins. Biotin is synthesised from bacteria (including gut bacteria) and mold and yeast fungus, algae, and certain plants. Biotin is water-soluble and because it does not get stored in the body we depend on regular intake/production of the nutrient. Biotin is removed when boiled in water.

Functions and importance for

  • Uptake and turnover of carbohydrate, fat, and protein
  • Regulation of sugar metabolism. Type-2 diabetics often have lower biotin levels in their blood
  • Nervous system
  • Mental balance
  • Production of urea
  • Maintenance of mucous membranes
  • Skin and hair

Deficiencies and poor utilisation may be caused by

  • Overconsumption of alcohol
  • Poor intestinal flora that destroyed the production of the microflora
  • Long-term treatment with antibiotics and sulfa preparations that destroy the production of the intestinal flora
  • Medical drugs against epilepsy
  • Consumption of many raw egg whites that contains the protein compound avidin that binds biotin and prevents the uptake of the nutrient. Avidin is inactivated when heated.
  • Old age

Deficiency symptom

  • Fatigue
  • Symptoms of the nervous system
  • Depression
  • Muscle pain
  • Skin rashes by the mouth, nose, and ears
  • Greyish skin
  • Hair loss

Detection of biotin deficiency

The content of the enzyme propionyl-CoA in the white blood cells is used as a markers to detect a person's biotin status

Sources

Mainly organ meat, eggs, fish, whole-grain, mushrooms, fruit, greens, and nuts.

Content of biotin (vitamin B8) in micrograms per 100 grams

Pork liver/calf liver

44/39
Kale 36
Eggs 25
Oats 19
Mushrooms 16


Recommended daily allowance (RDA)

Adults: 11 years of age and older: 50 micrograms
Children: 1-10 years of age: 8 micrograms

Increased need

  • The mentioned deficiency symptoms and with use of certain medical drugs
  • Pregnancy and lactation
  • Overconsumption of alcohol
  • Poor intestinal flora
  • Old age
  • Certain types of antibiotics and epilepsy drugs

Important information

Supplements should normally be taken with other B vitamins and not together with antacids.

Overdosing - side effects

No side effects have been observed. However, it is advised not to ingest daily doses in excess of 225 micrograms.