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    Biotin

    Other name(s):

    vitamin H (archaic), coenzyme R, d-biotin, hexahydro-2-oxo-1H-thienol[3,4-d]-imidazole-4-pentatonoic acid

    General description

    Biotin is a B vitamin. It’s water soluble. It’s easily absorbed when you take it by mouth. It’s found in a variety of foods. It’s also made by bacteria inside the large intestine. Biotin deficiency is rare. Like the other B vitamins, biotin helps your body make energy.

    Biotin works with carboxylase enzymes, ATP, and magnesium to use carbon dioxide to help make fatty acids. Biotin also helps make proteins and purines. Biotin helps your body break down carbohydrates and the amino acid tryptophan.

    Medically valid uses

    Biotin is the treatment for some genetic conditions caused by lack of certain enzymes. These include:

    • Biotinidase deficiency

    • Propionic academia

    • Holocarboxylase synthetase deficiency

    These conditions can cause neurological damage and abnormal skin conditions. They happen often enough that healthcare providers may start testing for them at birth.

    Unsubstantiated claims

    There may be benefits that have not yet been proven through research.

    Biotin may help treat hair loss (alopecia). It may also treat skin issues. These can include acne, seborrhea, and eczema.

    Recommended intake

    Biotin is measured in micrograms (mcg). AI is the Adequate Intake.

    Group

    AI

    Infants (0–6 months)

    5 mcg 

    Infants (7–12 months)

    6 mcg 

    Children (1–3 years)

    8 mcg

    Children (4–8 years)

    12 mcg

    Children (9–13 years)

    20 mcg

    Children (14–18 years)

    25 mcg

    Adults (19 years and older)

    30 mcg

    Pregnant women

    30 mcg

    Breastfeeding women

    35 mcg

    Food source

    Nutrient content per 100 grams

    Brewer's yeast

    188.8 mcg

    Soybeans

    179.4 mcg

    Beef liver

    113.3 mcg

    Butter

    94.3 mcg

    Split peas

    77.7 mcg

    Sunflower seeds

    66 mcg

    Green peas/lentils

    40 mcg

    Peanuts/walnuts

    37.5 mcg

    Pecans

    27.75 mcg

    Eggs

    18.9 mcg

    Biotin is stable at room temperature. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It isn’t destroyed by cooking.

    Biotin deficiency can be caused by:

    • Eating a lot of raw egg whites (more than 6 per day) because egg whites contain a protein (avidin) that blocks the absorption of biotin

    • A weakened immune system

    • Cirrhosis of the liver

    • The genetic condition phenylketonuria (PKU)

    • Taking seizure medicines (anticonvulsants) such as carbamazepine and phenytoin.

    • Chronic alcohol use

    • Certain rare genetic disorders

    Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may need to take supplements, but you should talk to your healthcare provider before doing so.

    Biotin deficiency can cause: 

    • Impaired glucose tolerance

    • Loss of appetite

    • Nausea

    • Muscle pain (myalgia)

    • Localized sensory changes (paresthesia)

    • Seborrheic dermatitis

    • Nervous issues such as depression

    Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

    There are no known problems due to too much use of biotin. Extra biotin comes out in urine.

    There are no known food or medicine interactions.

    Online Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Godsey
    Online Medical Reviewer: Diane Horowitz MD
    Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
    Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2019
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