Biotin Sources and Functions

Biotin Sources and Functions

All of the B vitamins work together to keep you healthy and feeling good. Here is a summary of the role of biotin, a water-soluble vitamin, in your good health.

What it does Functions as part of a coenzyme to help release energy from the food you eat.
Daily needs [Infants*: 5-6 µg] [Children†: 8-25 µg] [Men: 30 µg]
[Women: 30 µg] [Pregnant: 30 µg] [Lactating: 35 µg]
Not enough Hair loss, Facial rash, Depression, Lethargy, Tingling, Hallucinations
Too Much No known toxic effects
Foods Whole or enriched grain products, Eggs, Fish, Liver, Soybeans

*The lower value is for infants up to 6 mos.,higher value is for infants up to a year old.
† The first value is for children 1-3 with the amount increasing until age 18.

Note that the recommendation for daily intake of biotin is given in micrograms (µg). A microgram is .0001 milligrams (mg), so it is a very small amount. This vitamin is still important even though it is considered a micronutrient--meaning you do not need very much of it to be healthy.

In general, people who live in developed countries like the United States get enough biotin, and therefore, biotin deficiency is rare.However, those suffering from eating disorders or living in poverty may not be eating enough food to get sufficient biotin in their diet.

Important for pregnant women

There is also research that suggests that some pregnant women may develop marginal biotin deficiency, because the developing fetus may require biotin for DNA replication.

The sources of biotin listed above are the best sources, but a wide variety of foods contain biotin. If you eat a variety of foods from all of the food groups, you will more than likely get enough biotin. In addition, the bacteria in your digestive tract can produce some biotin, but it is not known if this is a significant source.

Interesting Fact about Biotin Sources and Functions: If you eat two dozen raw egg whites per day for several months, you may develop a biotin deficiency. Raw egg whites contain avidin, which is a protein that prevents the absorption of biotin. Cooking egg whites before eating them destroys this ability. I guess you will have to give up your raw egg white habit! I wonder how they came upon this discovery!

Click here to go from Biotin Sources and Functions page to Vitamins page.

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