Home » Vitamin B8 (Biotin) Benefits – Deficiency – Food Sources

Vitamin B8 (Biotin) Benefits – Deficiency – Food Sources

Biotin acts as coenzyme for carboxylase enzyme that helps in carbon dioxide fixation.

It is soluble in water and alcohol, heat stable and resistant to acids and alkalis. It contains sulphur.

Sources of biotin

It is present in all common articles of food especially in yeast, egg-yolk, kidney, liver, cauliflower, peas etc.

Raw egg white contains avid in which antagonizes biotin and thus the animal suffers from this vitamin deficiency. Hence, raw egg white is antibiotic in nature.

Benefits of biotin

Biotin acts as a coenzyme for carboxylase so as to help in carboxylation reactions such as in urea formation and biosynthesis of pyrimmidines and fatty acids.

It also helps in deamination of threonine, serine and aspartic acid.

An important function of biotin is in the coenzyme activity related to carbamyl phosphate synthesis and reaction related to it. It also helps to prevent dermatitis.

It is essential for the growth and health of the hair. It prevents premature graying of the hair as well as hair loss. This vitamin helps to maintain the skin and the nervous system in a healthy condition. It controls proper distribution of color pigment.

Biotin is used for the treatment of inborn errors of metabolism. It has putative glucose tolerance-modulating activity. It may also have activity in the management of brittle fingernails and the uncombable hair syndrome.

Deficiency symptoms

Deficiency of this vitamin causes dermatitis especially of extremities, pallor of skin and mucous membranes.

There is increase in blood cholesterol.

Deficiency does not occur normally but may be induced either by feeding raw egg white which contains an antivitamin avid in which forms a non-absorbable complex with biotin

Deficiency of biotin causes muscular weakness, pains, pins and needles (pricking of the skin), lassitude, and lack of appetite.

It may cause eczema, dandruff, hair loss and seborrhoea.

Other common problems, which may occur, are skin disorders, heart abnormalities, lung infections, anaemia, extreme fatigue, confusion, mental depression, and drowsiness.

Symptoms of high intake

Biotin is not known to be toxic. Oral biotin supplementation has been well tolerated in doses up to 200 mg/day in people with hereditary disorders of biotin metabolism.

It has been claimed that supplemental biotin can reverse loss and graying of hair

Who are not advised to take

Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid supplemental doses of biotin greater than the adequate intakes (AI) recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board, unless their physicians prescribe higher doses. The AIs are 30 micrograms/day for pregnant women and 35 micrograms/day for nursing mothers.

The use of biotin for the treatment of a biotin-responsive medical condition requires medical supervision.

Biotin is contraindicated in those hypersensitive to any component of a biotin-containing product.

Who need more?

Biotin supplementation has been found useful to improve glucose tolerance and decrease insulin resistance in a diabetic patient. It has also been found to influence hepatic glucokinase expression both at the transcriptional and translational levels in cell culture. More recently, biotin has been shown to affect pancreatic islet glucokinase activity and expression and insulin secretion in cultured rat islet cells. Glucokinase has a central regulatory role in glucose metabolism. Above studies suggest that the administration of supplementary biotin may improve the metabolism and/or utilization of glucose in those with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Some studies have found that high doses of biotin are helpful in the management of brittle fingernails in women. The mechanism of the possible effect of biotin in the management of brittle fingernails is not known. Biotin deficiency does cause skin changes.

Daily requirement
  • In human beings it is 150-300 micro-grams per day on the average.
  • Average daily diet contains sufficient amount.