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Vitamin B7 Biotin Deficiency & HealthIssues

Biotin Deficiency

Biotin deficiency rarely occurs in healthy individuals, since the daily requirements of biotin are low, and many foods contain adequate amounts of biotin. Biotin deficiency can be caused by excessive consumption of raw egg whites over long periods of time. Egg whites contain avidin, a protein that binds to biotin, which forms a biotin-avidin complex that's does not get absorbed and is lost in the feces. However, cooked egg white avidin becomes denatured.

Biotin food sources: Beef Liver, Chicken, Cheese, Brown Rice, Green Peas, Milk, Oat Bran, Peanuts, Salmon, Soybeans and Walnuts

New born babies are the most likely to be deficient in Biotin, this is simply because they do not have any "good bacteria" in their body to make Biotin for them. Therefore, an small amount of Biotin supplements are suggested for infants, but make sure you consult with the doctor beforehand. The following people are also likely to be deficient in Biotin:

  • People who are taking anti-biotics drugs. Remember, if your body has less bacteria, then there are less Biotin produced
  • People who eat raw eggs. (Cooked ones are fine)
  • People with very low-calorie diets

Biotin Deficient Symptoms

Biotin deficiency is very rare, but if one is deficient in vitamin B7, he/she may have the following symptoms:

1). Babies may have dry scaling on scalp and face
2). Fatigue
3). Nausea
4). Depression
5). Loss of appetite
6). Loss of muscular reflexes
7). Hair loss
8). Anemia
9). Conjunctivitis

Initial symptoms of biotin deficiency include:

  • Dry skin
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Fungal infections
  • Rashes including erythematous periorofacial macular rash
  • Fine and brittle hair
  • Hair loss or total alopecia

If left untreated, neurological symptoms can develop, including:

  • Mild depression, which may progress to profound lassitude and, eventually, to somnolence
  • Changes in mental status
  • Generalized muscular pains (myalgias)
  • Hyperesthesias and paresthesias

The treatment for biotin deficiency is to simply start taking some biotin supplements.

>> Click here for Vitamin B7

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Biotin and Birth Defects

Recent research indicates that biotin is broken down more rapidly during pregnancy and that biotin nutritional status declines during the course of pregnancy. In 6 out of 13 women studied biotin excretion dropped below the normal range during late pregnancy, suggesting that their biotin status was abnormally low. Approximately half of pregnant women have abnormally high excretion of a metabolite (3-hydroxyisovaleric acid) thought to reflect decreased activity of a biotin-dependent enzyme.

A recent study of 26 pregnant women found that biotin supplementation decreased the excretion of this metabolite compared to placebo, suggesting that marginal biotin deficiency is relatively common in pregnancy. Although the level of biotin depletion was not severe enough to cause symptoms, it was reason for concern because sub clinical biotin deficiency has been shown to cause birth defects in several animal species. The potential risk for biotin depletion makes it prudent to ensure adequate biotin intake throughout pregnancy.

Biotin and Diabetes Mellitus

It has been known for many years that overt biotin deficiency results in impaired utilization of glucose. Blood biotin levels were significantly lower in 43 patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) than in non-diabetic control subjects, and lower fasting blood glucose levels were associated with higher blood biotin levels. After one month of biotin supplementation (9 mg/day) fasting blood glucose levels decreased by an average of 45%. Reductions in blood glucose levels were also found in 7 insulin-dependent diabetics after 1 week of supplementation with 16 mg of biotin daily.

Several mechanisms could explain the glucose-lowering effect of biotin. As a cofactor of enzymes required for fatty acid synthesis, biotin may increase the utilization of glucose to synthesize fats. Biotin has been found to stimulate glucokinase, an enzyme in the liver, resulting in increased synthesis of glycogen, the storage form of glucose. Biotin has also been found to stimulate the secretion of insulin in the pancreas of rats, which also has the effect of lowering blood glucose (16). An effect on cellular glucose (GLUT) transporters is also currently under investigation. Presently, studies of the effect of supplemental biotin on blood glucose levels in humans are extremely limited, but they highlight the need for further research.

Vitamin B7 Biotin Supplements

Severe biotin deficiency causes thinning and eventual hair loss; a scaly red rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth; and nervous system problems such as lethargy, depression, and hallucinations. Certain groups are at greater risk: individuals who are on total intravenous (by the veins) feedings without added biotin may develop biotin deficiency, characterized by an unusual distribution of facial fat along with a rash and hair loss. Chronic consumption of raw egg whites can also cause biotin deficiency. (Many athletes who work out and eat egg whites for extra protein should take extra Biotin supplements or multivitamin supplements)

Low biotin levels have been seen in people on long-term antibiotic therapy, or who take anticonvulsants, which may increase the rate of biotin breakdown in the body and interfere with biotin absorption.

Pregnancy may also increase biotin breakdown, so extra vitamin supplements are required. Smokers and second hand smokers are also likely to be deficient in Biotin and other vitamins.

You may also consider taking a B-complex vitamin or Multivitamin that contains all necessary B vitamins to save all the trouble and avoid being overdose in particular vitamin.


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