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Biotin


What is it?

Biotin is a vitamin that is found in small amounts in numerous foods.

Biotin is used for preventing and treating biotin deficiency associated with pregnancy, long-term tube feeding, malnutrition, and rapid weight loss. It is also used orally for hair loss, brittle nails, skin rash in infants (seborrheic dermatitis), diabetes, and mild depression.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for BIOTIN are as follows:

Likely effective for...

  • Treating and preventing biotin deficiency. Symptoms of deficiency include thinning of the hair (often with loss of hair color), and red scaly rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Other symptoms include depression, listlessness, hallucinations, and tingling in the arms and legs. There is some evidence that cigarette smoking may cause mild biotin deficiency.

Possibly ineffective for...

  • Skin rash in infants (seborrheic dermatitis).

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • Hair loss. There is some preliminary evidence that hair loss can be reduced when biotin is taken by mouth in combination with zinc while a cream containing the chemical compound clobetasol propionate (Olux, Temovate) is applied to the skin.
  • Diabetes. Biotin alone doesn’t seem to affect blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, there is some evidence that a combination of biotin and chromium (Diachrome, Nutrition 21) might lower blood sugar in people with diabetes, whose diabetes is poorly controlled by prescription medicines.
  • Diabetic nerve pain. There is some evidence that biotin can reduce nerve pain in people with diabetes.
  • Brittle fingernails and toenails. Biotin might increase the thickness of fingernails and toenails in people with brittle nails.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate biotin for these uses.

How does it work?

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Biotin is an important component of enzymes in the body that break down certain substances like fats, carbohydrates, and others.

There isn’t a good laboratory test for detecting biotin deficiency, so this condition is usually identified by its symptoms, which include thinning of the hair (frequently with loss of hair color) and red scaly rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Nervous system symptoms include depression, exhaustion, hallucinations, and tingling of the arms and legs. There is some evidence that diabetes could result in biotin deficiency.

Are there safety concerns?

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Biotin is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken appropriately and by mouth. Biotin is well tolerated when used at recommended dosages.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Biotin is POSSIBLY SAFE when used in recommended amounts during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Kidney dialysis: People receiving kidney dialysis may need extra biotin. Check with your health care provider.

Are there interactions with medications?

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It is not known if this product interacts with any medicines.

Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

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There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Are there interactions with foods?

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Egg whites
Raw egg white contains a substance that binds biotin in the intestine and keeps it from being absorbed. Eating 2 or more uncooked egg whites daily for several months has caused biotin deficiency that is serious enough to produce symptoms.

What dose is used?

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The appropriate dose of biotin depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for biotin. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

There is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) established for biotin. The adequate intakes (AI) for biotin are 7 mcg for infants 0-12 months, 8 mcg for children 1-3 years, 12 mcg for children 4-8 years, 20 mcg for children 9-13 years, 25 mcg for adolescents 14-18 years, 30 mcg for adults over 18 years and pregnant women, and 35 mcg for breast-feeding women.

Other names

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Biotina, Biotine, Biotine-D, Coenzyme R, D-Biotin, Vitamin B7, Vitamin H, Vitamine B7, Vitamine H, W Factor, Cis-hexahydro-2-oxo-1H-thieno[3,4-d]-imidazole-4-valeric Acid.

Methodology

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To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.methodology (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/methodology.html).

References

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To see all references for the Biotin page, please go to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/313.html.

  1. Ebek, Inc. issues voluntary nationwide recall of Liviro3, a product marketed as a dietary supplement. Ebek Press Release, January 19, 2007. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/ebek01_07.html.
  2. Singer GM, Geohas J. The effect of chromium picolinate and biotin supplementation on glycemic control in poorly controlled patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a placebo-controlled, double-blinded, randomized trial. Diabetes Technol Ther 2006;8:636-43.
  3. Rathman SC, Eisenschenk S, McMahon RJ. The abundance and function of biotin-dependent enzymes are reduced in rats chronically administered carbamazepine. J Nutr 2002;132:3405-10.
  4. Mock DM, Dyken ME. Biotin catabolism is accelerated in adults receiving long-term therapy with anticonvulsants. Neurology 1997;49:1444-7.
  5. Albarracin C, Fuqua B, Evans JL, Goldfine ID. Chromium picolinate and biotin combination improves glucose metabolism in treated, uncontrolled overweight to obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Metab Res Rev 2008;24:41-51.
  6. Geohas J, Finch M, Juturu V, et al. Improvement in Fasting Blood Glucose with the Combination of Chromium Picolinate and Biotin in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. American Diabetes Association 64th Annual Meeting, June 2004, Orlando, Florida, abstract 191-OR.
  7. Mock DM, Dyken ME. Biotin deficiency results from long-term therapy with anticonvulsants (abstract). Gastroenterology 1995;108:A740.
  8. Krause KH, Berlit P, Bonjour JP. Vitamin status in patients on chronic anticonvulsant therapy. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1982;52:375-85.
  9. Krause KH, Kochen W, Berlit P, Bonjour JP. Excretion of organic acids associated with biotin deficiency in chronic anticonvulsant therapy. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1984;54:217-22.
  10. Sealey WM, Teague AM, Stratton SL, Mock DM. Smoking accelerates biotin catabolism in women. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:932-5.
  1. Mock NI, Malik MI, Stumbo PJ, et al. Increased urinary excretion of 3-hydroxyisovaleric acid and decreased urinary excretion of biotin are sensitive early indicators of decreased status in experimental biotin deficiency. Am J Clin Nutr 1997;65:951-8.
  2. Baez-Saldana A, Zendejas-Ruiz I, Revilla-Monsalve C, et al. Effects of biotin on pyruvate carboxylase, acetyl-CoA carboxylase, propionyl-CoA carboxylase, and markers for glucose and lipid homeostasis in type 2 diabetic patients and nondiabetic subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;79:238-43.
  3. Zempleni J, Mock DM. Bioavailability of biotin given orally to humans in pharmacologic doses. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69:504-8.
  4. Said HM. Biotin: the forgotten vitamin. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;75:179-80.
  5. Keipert JA. Oral use of biotin in seborrhoeic dermatitis of infancy: a controlled trial. Med J Aust 1976;1:584-5.
  6. Koutsikos D, Agroyannis B, Tzanatos-Exarchou H. Biotin for diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Biomed Pharmacother 1990;44:511-4.
  7. Coggeshall JC, Heggers JP, Robson MC, et al. Biotin status and plasma glucose in diabetics. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1985;447:389-92.
  8. Zempleni J, Helm RM, Mock DM. In vivo biotin supplementation at a pharmacologic dose decreases proliferation rates of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and cytokine release. J Nutr 2001;131:1479-84.
  9. Mock DM, Quirk JG, Mock NI. Marginal biotin deficiency during normal pregnancy. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:295-9.
  10. Camacho FM, Garcia-Hernandez MJ. Zinc aspartate, biotin, and clobetasol propionate in the treatment of alopecia areata in childhood. Pediatr Dermatol 1999;16:336-8.
  11. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline . Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000. Available at: http://books.nap.edu/books/0309065542/html/.
  12. Hill MJ. Intestinal flora and endogenous vitamin synthesis. Eur J Cancer Prev 1997;6:S43-5.
  13. Debourdeau PM, Djezzar S, Estival JL, et al. Life-threatening eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion related to vitamins B5 and H. Ann Pharmacother 2001;35:424-6.
  14. Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M, Ross AC, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 9th ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1999.
  15. Brewster MA, Schedewie H. Trimethylaminuria. Ann Clin Lab Sci 1983;13:20-4.
  16. Lininger SW. The Natural Pharmacy. 1st ed. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing; 1998.
  17. Mock DM, Mock NI, Nelson RP, Lombard KA. Disturbances in biotin metabolism in children undergoing long-term anticonvulsant therapy. J Pediatr Gastroentereol Nutr 1998;26:245-50.
  18. Krause KH, Bonjour JP, Berlit P, Kochen W. Biotin status of epileptics. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1985;447:297-313.
  19. Bonjour JP. Biotin in human nutrition. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1985;447:97-104.
  20. Said HM, Redha R, Nylander W. Biotin transport in the human intestine: inhibition by anticonvulsant drugs. Am J Clin Nutr 1989;49:127-31.
  21. Hochman LG, Scher RK, Meyerson MS. Brittle nails: response to daily biotin supplementation. Cutis 1993;51:303-5.
  22. Henry JG, Sobki S, Afafat N. Interference by biotin therapy on measurement of TSH and FT4 by enzyme immunoassay on Boehringer Mannheim ES 700 analyzer. Ann Clin Biochem 1996;33:162-3.
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Last reviewed - 08/11/2011




Page last updated: 12 March 2014