Know Your Nutrients: Biotin (Vitamin B7)

This next post in the series which explores key nutrients that are required by our bodies to support our optimal health and wellbeing. Each nutrient will be described in terms of its role, highlighting various key benefits, including our potential for deficiency, dietary sources, and potential benefits for supplementation.

Biotin is a B vitamin and was first identified and isolated as a yeast growth factor in 1935. Upon identification, Biotin’s biological role, structure, and mechanism of action have been investigated extensively. It is an essential cofactor for a small number of enzymes that have diverse metabolic functions.1

ROLE IN THE BODY: Biotin is classified as a crucial coenzyme involved synergistically with other B vitamins in energy production through the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. This includes fatty acid synthesis (creation of fatty acids), amino acid catabolism (breakdown of protein / amino acids), and gluconeogenesis (creation of glucose from certain non-carbohydrate carbon substrates).2 Biotin also helps to maintain our mucous membranes, healthy skin and nails and is essential for the production of RNA and DNA.

STATUS AND INTAKE: We are unlikely to be deficient in Biotin, since it is widely available in our foods, and our good gut bacteria can normally synthesize more Biotin than our body needs. Signs of deficiency have been reported to include alopecia (hair loss), red scaly rashes (nose, mouth, and genital area), depression, lethargy, hallucinations, numbness and tingling of the extremities, ataxia, and seizures.3

In the UK, there is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Biotin since there isn’t enough evidence to set one. The EU Recommended Nutrient Value (NRV) for Biotin is 50 µg/day for adults.

SOURCES: Biotin is naturally found in foods, both plant and animal sources. Good sources include egg yolk, organ meats (liver, kidney), nuts (whole and butters inc. almonds, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts), soybeans (plus other legumes), whole grains (inc. cereals), cauliflower, bananas and mushrooms.4 We cannot store this water-soluble nutrient, therefore we need to eat Biotin-rich foods daily. This is important for getting the adequate amounts needed for optimal health. The Biotin content of our food can vary widely. For example, Biotin content of our cereal grains can vary via plant variety and season. Plus, certain processing techniques (e.g., canning) can reduce the Biotin content of foods we consume.5

SUPPLEMENTATION: Commonly, Biotin is available in dietary supplements containing only Biotin, in combination with other B-complex vitamins, and in some multi-nutrient products, especially targeting healthy hair, skin and nails. The typical ranges of Biotin in dietary supplements is from about 300 µg in multi-nutrient supplements up to 1 000 µg to 10 000 µg in Biotin specific products.

Bigvits have sourced a variety of premium brand Biotin products to provide a range of options for supplementation. They offer many multi-nutrient products containing Biotin including Healthy Origins, Now Foods, Life Extension products. Of merit as stand-alone Biotin products are: i) Healthy Origins Ultra Potency Biotin product containing 10 000 µg; ii) Now Foods 5 000 µg product and iii) Jarrow Formulas Biotin 5 000 µg.

Bigvits also offer Life Extension’s Alpha Lipoic Acid with Biotin. Lipoic acid helps boost levels of one of our body’s other key antioxidants, glutathione. It also promotes healthy function of mitochondria, our cells’ energy generators. The addition of Biotin to this product complements lipoic acid’s role in supporting our metabolic health.

Related Products:

N.B. All products and custom formulas are made with ingredients from some of the most reputable suppliers in the world. Furthermore, with no use any hidden fillers, coatings, or binders and each formula been manufactured with strict compliance to FDA and cGMP guidelines, their products are an obvious choice for consumers.

If you have a specific interest or would like to see a particular product or nutrient reviewed, please email your request to Educating our customers in respect to the importance of nutrients and the idiosyncrasies between formulas and products is at the heart of what we want to achieve.

This post is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or nutritional advice or act as a substitute for seeking such advice from a qualified health professional. In order to make the blog series easier to read, I have used a conversational tone in many places with personal pronouns, such as “I” and “you.” This is meant only to make it more pleasant to read, and is not meant to imply that the information constitutes any form of advice, whether personal or general.