BIOTIN (Vitamin B7)
Biotin, also referred to as Vitamin H or coenzyme R, has it’s main function as a cofactor for carboxylase enzymes:
– Acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) carboxylase- needed to make fatty acids.
– Pyruvate carboxylase- needed to make glucose from amino acids and fats.
– Methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase- needed to make the essential amino acid leucine.
– Propionyl-CoA carboxylase- needed for many steps in metabolism of amino acids, cholesterol and fatty acids.
Through biotinylation, biotin is thought to play a role in replication and transcription of DNA and RNA.
SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY
Deficiency is very rare, typically limited to the rare hereditary disorders of biotinidase deficiency and holocarboxylase synthetase deficiency. Those with these deficiencies may require supplementation in the range of 5 mg to 100 mg respective. The bacteria in our colon are thought to make enough biotin to meet the needs for most of us.
Symptoms seen most often with biotin deficiency are hair loss, red rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, and genital area. Neurological symptoms of depression, lethargy, hallucinations, and numbness and tingling of the extremities have been reported.
Liver, eggs, yeast, and wheat bran have the highest amounts of biotin (14-27 micrograms per serving). Legumes, whole grains, fish, avocado, and raw cauliflower have 4-6 micrograms per serving.
SAFETY AND TOXICITY
There is no known toxicity with biotin and doses up to 200 mg a day have been used for those with the heredity conditions listed above without any problems. Those on long term seizure medications or sulfa medications may need extra biotin.
Adequate biotin doses are 5-10 micrograms for infants, 10-20 micrograms for children, and 30-60 micrograms for adults. Non-insulin dependent adults taking 9 mg daily have been shown to have a 45% reduction in fasting blood glucose.
Learn about the epigenetic role of Biotin here…
Learn more about Biotin deficiency here…