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What is Biotin + Biotin in Foods and Supplements + Biotin Functions, Requirements and Deficiency

What is biotin and what foods contain biotin and what forms are used in supplements?

Biotin is B-complex vitamin based on its basic role in energy metabolism. However, because biotin deficiency has been associated with hair (fur) loss in animal studies, it is often marketed in products to improve hair. Biotin is widely dispersed throughout the foods we eat, although its concentration is somewhat limited. Liver, oatmeal, almonds, roasted peanuts, wheat bran, brewer’s yeast, and molasses are better sources. While milk and milk products contain only mediocre amounts of biotin they actually are some of the best providers of biotin in our diet because of their popularity. Eggs offer a respectable amount of biotin, however egg whites contain a protein called avidin that will bind to biotin in our digestive tract and decrease its absorption. Fortunately, avidin’s ability to bind biotin is diminished when eggs, or their whites, are cooked.In addition to preventing salmonella infection, this is another reason to avoid uncooked eggs (or egg whites) as well as egg-based products that have not been pasteurized.


Can some biotin be made in our body?

The bacteria living in the colon also produce biotin, and some of this biotin can be absorbed. This seems to make a respectable contribution toward meeting our biotin needs, however it is not enough to be relied upon exclusively. Furthermore, since it is bacterial cells and not our own cells that make biotin, it should not really be viewed as a vitamin that the human body can make. Therefore, biotin indisputably maintains its place on the list of vitamins.


How much biotin do we need?

The AI for biotin adults is 30 micrograms daily. The recommendation remains the same during pregnancy and is increased to 35 µg during lactation. Because biotin is important in energy operations it is extremely important that more active people get at least the recommended level and perhaps more appropriately 50 to 60 micrograms daily. See the current DRI Table for recommendations for all ages.


What does biotin do in our body?

Similar to thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, biotin also provides vital assistance to energy operations and is found in higher concentrations in the brain, muscle and liver. Serving as a coenzyme, biotin is pivotal in making glucose from other substances such as amino acids and lactate to help maintain blood glucose levels during fasting and prolonged exercise. Biotin is also necessary to make fatty acids from excessive glucose and certain amino acids. Last, biotin is necessary for the pathways that help break down certain fatty acids (odd-chain length) and amino acids for energy.


Can too much or too little biotin be consumed?

Because biotin is widely available in foods and is also derived from the bacteria in our intestinal tract, deficiency is very uncommon. However, some of the rare cases of biotin deficiency include hospital patients fed a biotin-deficient solution intravenously (IV) or in infants fed a lot of egg whites as a protein supplement. On the other hand, biotin seems to be relatively nontoxic.




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