Biotin (vitamin B7) plays an important role in several of the human body's metabolic reactions and cell growth. It is partially responsible for carbon dioxide transfer in enzymes, the release of energy from food and maintaining blood sugar levels. Biotin deficiency is rare as it is readily available in many foods.
Symptoms of Biotin Deficiency
Symptoms of biotin deficiency include hair loss, skin rash, weight loss, muscle pains, tongue inflammation, nausea, high cholesterol, mental depression and localised loss of sensation.
Biotin Daily Requirements
The daily requirements of biotin vary by age and sex as follows: Infants 0-12 months: 6 micrograms Children 1-3 years: 8 micrograms Children 4-8 years: 12 micrograms Children 9-13 years: 20 micrograms Children 14-18 years: 25 micrograms Adults 19+ years: 30 micrograms Pregnant females: 30 micrograms Lactating females: 35 micrograms
Foods Containing Biotin
There are a variety of foods rich in biotin. The richest source is nuts (peanuts, filberts, almonds, peanut butter). A half cup of peanuts yields more than double the daily requirement of biotin for adults. Smaller amounts of biotin (anywhere from 3 to 8.5 micrograms per serving) are found in tuna, pork, banana, papaya, carrots, avocado, tomato sauce, nonfat milk, salmon, swiss chard, sweet potato, haddock, lowfat yoghurt, cashews, cooked egg and soy protein isolate.
Biotin is sometimes recommended to combat brittle hair and nails. It is commonly found in hair and nail beauty products.
Regular consumption of raw egg whites can cause biotin deficiency.