Biotin – The Vitamin Linked To The Health Of Hair, Skin And Nails

Biotin is a sulfur containing water soluble member of the B complex of vitamins, also known as vitamin B7. The vitamin is found in food in a free state and bound to a protein. The vitamin is noted for its beneficial effects on hair, skin, and nails and is found in many supplements for hair, skin, and nails.

Biotin Molecule

Biotin Molecule

The vitamin like other B complex vitamins functions as a coenzyme in such reactions as converting amino acids to glucose, the synthesis of fatty acids, the release of energy from fatty acids, and DNA synthesis.

The vitamin is synthesized by beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract and also released from food sources in the intestine by the enzyme biotinidase and absorbed by the colon where it is released to all tissues. The main storage areas for the vitamin are the liver and the retinal tissues of the eye.

Dietary Recommendations

An adequate intake (AI) of 20-30 micrograms/day is recommended for adults (men and women) and children over 11 years, and for infants and younger children 5-12 micrograms/day is recommended.

Vitamin Sources

Good food sources of the vitamin are cauliflower, cheese, liver and peanuts. Egg yolks are also a good source of the vitamin; however they should never be eaten raw due to the risk of salmonella in eating anything containing raw eggs. Generally fruits and meats other than liver are poor sources of the vitamin.

Biotin Food Cauliflower Biotin Food Cheese Biotin Foods Pork Liver Biotin Food Peanuts Biotin Food Egg Yolks

Vitamin Deficiency

Deficiency of the vitamin is extremely rare, but can occur from eating raw egg whites over a long period of time, generally months or years. Symptoms of deficiency include anorexia, nausea, vomiting, glossitis, depression, ataxia, conjunctivitis, dry scaly dermatitis.

Vitamin Toxicity

Toxicity is very rare even at high doses of the vitamin.

For more information about Biotin click on the link to

For other information on nutrition, and vitamins in particular some great references are:

• Nutrition – Fourth Edition by Paul Insel, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, and Melissa Bernstein

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