In a nutshell
Biotin (vitamin B7)
Biotin also is known as Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H. It is a water-soluble vitamin. Part of the B-complex of vitamins, this nutrient is not stored in large amounts in the body. We can find biotin in small quantities in a variety of foods. Besides, this vitamin is also produced in the guts by the good intestinal microflora.
Like other B Vitamins, B7 plays a crucial role in metabolism (breaking down and transforming the foods we eat into energy and basic materials used for rebuilding tissues in the body). This vitamin plays an essential role in gluconeogenesis- a process of glucose generation from non-sugars (fatty and amino acids), thereby helps to maintain a certain level of sugar in the blood.
Benefits of biotin
Biotin is necessary for healthy skin, hair, and nails. Despite the known fact that a shortage of biotin leads to hair loss, there is not enough research depicting the usefulness of B7 excessive intake in the improvement of the condition of hair and nails (unless the unhealthy state of hair caused by a deficiency of this nutrient).
Besides, this vitamin is necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system, healthy embryonic growth, and development in early stages, growth of cells, and healing of tissues.
Vitamin B7 deficiency
Vitamin B7 (biotin) deficiency is very rare because good intestinal bacteria produce this substance. However, there are some cases where a shortage can be developed. Eating a diet that includes raw egg whites for an extended period can lead to a deficiency in this nutrient. Pregnant and breastfeeding women may also become deficient so that supplementation may be necessary. Certain medications, including some antibiotics and anti-seizure medications, may also reduce biotin levels in the body. Antibiotics harm good intestinal microbiota, which is a crucial biotin supplier.
The most common symptoms of deficiency of this vitamin involve problems with the skin (seborrheic dermatitis), especially of the scalp. Other symptoms of a Vitamin B7 deficiency may include:
• Hair loss;
• Dry, scaly skin;
• Cracked skin, especially in the corners of the mouth;
• Glossitis, resulting in a bright red tongue that is painful and swollen;
• Loss of appetite;
• Difficulty sleeping;
• The trouble with muscle tone and coordination;
• Muscle cramps;
• Mood problems;
• Numbness and tingling in arms, legs, hands, or feet.
Biotin side effects
There have been no noted serious events of Vitamin B7 overdose. Even with daily high doses of biotin supplements, there is little chance for a severe reaction. Because of this, there is no tolerable upper limit (UL), or maximum dosage, has been set. However, as with any medication, users may experience Vitamin B7 side effects.
There are no known biotin side effects, even when it is taken in supplement form. However, those with specific health issues or on medications should consult their physicians before taking supplements containing this vitamin. Additional supplementation with this nutrient may reduce the effectiveness of prescription cholesterol medications. It is inadvisable to take high doses of this vitamin with other vitamins for long periods without physician recommendation due to the unknown risks associated with such combination in long-term use.
Daily Recommended Intake
While good intestinal bacteria produce B7, it is also essential to eat foods that contain this nutrient. This vitamin is found in eggs, especially the yolk, oily fish, beans, grains, leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, cauliflower, brewer's yeast, tomatoes, and bananas.
While supplementation is typically not necessary, daily recommendations for this nutrient range from 5 microgram per day for infants up to 30 microgram a day for adults and breastfeeding women- 35 μg (microgram).
Sources of vitamin B7
• Sunflower seeds (100g) - 100 μg;
• Hazelnut (100g) -88 μg;
• Almonds (100g) - 82 μg;
• Eggs (yolk) (100g) - 47μg;
• Pistachio nuts(100g) - 45 μg;
• Kale (100g) -36 μg;
• Pea (100g) - 32 μg;
• Quinoa (100g) - 30 μg;
• Mushrooms (100g) -16 μg;
• Cod, herring, salmon, mackerel, sardine, tuna.
• Broccoli, avocado, carrot;
• Whole wheat bread.
At first, It was called Vitamin "H" after the German word "haut"...
Why Vitamin "H"? This vitamin was first identified in 1916 by W. G. Bateman. In the 1930s and 1940s, experiments with chicks and rats that were fed raw egg whites showed a deficiency in essential nutrients by causing rash and hair loss. At first, biotin was called Vitamin H after the German word "haut" (skin) due to the skin effects of deficiency. It was later discovered to be one of the B-vitamins. It was given the label B7 as it was the 7th identified in this group.