Vitamin B7(Biotin): Sources, Intake, Benefits and Deficiency
Vitamin B7, also known as biotin, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in various metabolic processes in the body. It is part of the B-vitamin complex and is essential for the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to produce energy. Biotin also contributes to the synthesis of fatty acids and assists in maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, so a daily intake is necessary. The human cells cannot synthesize vitamin B7. However, bacteria in the body can produce biotin, and the vitamin is present in numerous foods.
Biotin therapy may help treat some medical conditions. Some people take supplements to strengthen their nails and hair, but there is a lack of evidence supporting this use.
This article looks at the recommended intake, sources, and possible health Benefits and deficiency of Biotin.
The recommended daily intake of biotin, also known as vitamin B7, can vary depending on factors such as age, sex, and life stage. The following are the general guidelines for biotin intake:
- Infants (0-6 months): 5 micrograms (mcg) per day
- Infants (7-12 months): 6 mcg per day
- Children (1-3 years): 8 mcg per day
- Children (4-8 years): 12 mcg per day
- Children (9-13 years): 20 mcg per day
- Adolescents (14-18 years): 25 mcg per day
- Adults (19 years and older): 30 mcg per day
Pregnant and breastfeeding women have slightly higher recommended intakes of biotin:
- Pregnant women: 30 mcg per day
- Breastfeeding women: 35 mcg per day
It’s important to note that these recommendations are approximate values and can vary depending on the specific guidelines of different countries or organizations. Additionally, certain health conditions or medications may require higher levels of biotin intake, and it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations.
Biotin, or vitamin B7, is found in a variety of food sources. Here are some common food sources of biotin:
- Organ meats: Liver, kidney, and other organ meats are rich sources of biotin. Beef liver, in particular, is known to be a good source of this vitamin.
- Eggs: Egg yolks contain biotin. Consuming cooked eggs can provide a decent amount of biotin in the diet.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and sunflower seeds are examples of nuts and seeds that contain biotin. They can be eaten as snacks or added to meals and recipes.
- Legumes: Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and soybeans provide biotin. These can be included in various dishes such as soups, stews, salads, and spreads.
- Whole grains: Whole grains such as oats, barley, wheat, and brown rice contain biotin. Including these grains in your diet can contribute to your biotin intake.
- Mushrooms: Some varieties of mushrooms, including shiitake and portobello mushrooms, are sources of biotin.
- Vegetables: Certain vegetables contain biotin, although in smaller amounts. Spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower are examples of vegetables that provide some biotin.
- Dairy products: Milk, cheese, and yogurt contain small amounts of biotin.
It’s worth noting that biotin is also produced by bacteria in the intestines. However, the amount synthesized by gut bacteria is generally not sufficient to meet daily requirements, so it’s important to obtain biotin from dietary sources as well.
Incorporating a variety of these food sources into your diet can help ensure an adequate intake of biotin. Remember that cooking and processing methods can affect the biotin content of foods, so opting for fresh and minimally processed options is generally recommended.
Biotin, or vitamin B7, offers several health benefits due to its involvement in various metabolic processes in the body. Here are some of the potential health benefits associated with biotin:
1. Energy production
Biotin is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It helps convert these macronutrients into usable forms of energy, which is vital for the proper functioning of cells and organs.
2. Healthy hair, skin, and nails
Biotin is often associated with promoting healthy hair, skin, and nails. It is involved in the production of keratin, a protein that forms the structural basis of these tissues. Adequate biotin levels may help improve hair strength and thickness, enhance skin health and appearance, and support strong nails.
3. Blood sugar regulation
Biotin plays a role in the metabolism of glucose, the primary source of energy for the body. It assists insulin, a hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels, in the breakdown and utilization of glucose. Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is essential for overall health and can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
4. Pregnancy support
Biotin is important during pregnancy as it supports embryonic growth and development. Adequate biotin levels are necessary for normal fetal development, including the formation of the baby’s organs and proper growth.
5. Cognitive function
Some studies suggest that biotin may have a role in maintaining healthy brain function. It is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which are crucial for mood regulation, memory, and cognitive processes.
6. Cardiovascular health
Biotin may contribute to cardiovascular health by assisting in the metabolism of fats and cholesterol. By promoting proper fat metabolism, biotin may help maintain healthy blood lipid levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
7. Support for certain medical conditions
Biotin supplementation has shown promising results in improving symptoms associated with conditions such as brittle nails, seborrheic dermatitis, and peripheral neuropathy. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before using biotin for specific medical purposes.
It’s important to note that biotin deficiency is relatively rare, as it is found in a wide range of common foods, and the body requires only small amounts of it. However, certain factors like pregnancy, malnutrition, gastrointestinal disorders, or genetic conditions can increase the risk of deficiency. If you suspect a biotin deficiency or are considering biotin supplementation, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for appropriate guidance.
Biotin deficiency is relatively rare because the body requires only small amounts of biotin, and it is found in a variety of common foods. However, certain factors can increase the risk of biotin deficiency. These include:
- Poor diet: Consuming a diet that is severely lacking in essential nutrients, including biotin-rich foods, can lead to a deficiency.
- Prolonged use of certain medications: Some medications, such as certain anticonvulsants and antibiotics, can interfere with biotin absorption or increase biotin excretion, potentially leading to a deficiency.
- Gastrointestinal disorders: Certain gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or conditions that affect the absorption of nutrients, can impair biotin absorption and increase the risk of deficiency.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Biotin requirements increase during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and deficiency can occur if the intake is insufficient to meet the increased demands.
- Genetic disorders: Rare genetic disorders, such as biotinidase deficiency or holocarboxylase synthetase deficiency, can impair the body’s ability to process or utilize biotin, leading to a deficiency.
Symptoms of biotin deficiency may include
- Hair loss or thinning hair
- Skin rashes or dermatitis
- Brittle or weak nails
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Muscle pain or weakness
- Nervous system abnormalities, such as depression, hallucinations, or tingling in the extremities
If you suspect a biotin deficiency or are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Biotin deficiency can often be addressed through dietary changes or supplementation with biotin under medical supervision.
Overall, biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in various metabolic processes in the body. It is involved in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for energy production. Biotin also supports proper nervous system function and is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters.
While biotin deficiency is rare, certain factors can increase the risk of deficiency. In such cases, biotin supplementation may be recommended under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Biotin supplements are commonly used for purposes such as promoting hair, skin, and nail health, supporting hair growth, and addressing specific medical conditions. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplement, including biotin, to ensure it is appropriate for your individual needs and to determine the proper dosage. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet that includes biotin-rich foods is important for overall health and wellbeing.
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