Biotin (also known as vitamin B7 or as vitamin H) is part of the B complex group of vitamins. Like other vitamins in this group it assists the body in converting carbohydrates into fuel and helps to metabolise fats and proteins.
Where do I find Vitamin B7?
- Good sources of biotin include cooked eggs (especially the yolk), sardines, brewer’s yeast, nuts, soybeans, beans, whole grains, bananas, cauliflower and mushrooms.
- Bear in mind that processed foods can destroy biotin, while raw egg whites contain a protein that interferes with the body’s absorption of biotin.
- Biotin is also found in multivitamins, as individual supplements and in B-vitamin complexes.
- A daily intake of between 0.010 and 0.20mg is thought to be sufficient*.
Why do I need Vitamin B7?
Biotin plays a role in helping the body convert food into energy. It’s also thought to keep nails and hair healthy, which is why you’ll often find it in cosmetic hair and nail products. Biotin is also important during pregnancy as it plays a role in embryonic growth.
How will I know if I am lacking in Biotin?
A lack of biotin is rare. When it does occur it can cause hair loss, dry scaly skin, cracked lips, a swollen tongue, dry eyes, fatigue, loss of appetite and depression. Those at risk include people fed through a drip for a long period of time. Long-term use of anti-seizure medicines and antibiotics can also lead to a deficiency as can intestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease.
In infants a lack of biotin can lead to impaired growth.
Can biotin ever be harmful?
There is no evidence to suggest that biotin is toxic. As biotin is water-soluble it gets excreted out with your urine, so it’s unlikely that you’ll take in too much.