Vitamin B7 or biotin as it is sometimes referred to, is a water soluble B complex vitamin.Biotin is important in fatty acid synthesis, branched-chain amino acid catabolism, and gluconeogenesis.
Biotin is a coenzyme in the metabolism of leucine and fatty acids and is made up of a tetrahydroimidizalone ring fused with a tetrahydrothiophene ring. The tetrahydrothiophene ring has a valeric acid substituent attached to one of its carbon atoms.
Vitamin B7: Functions in the Human Body
Bbiotin is vital for the production of fatty acids, cell growth, and the metabolism of amino acids and fats. Biotin assists in the citric acid cycle, which is the process of generating energy for aerobic respiration. Biotin is not only important for metabolic processes but for helping carbon dioxide transfer and maintaining steady blood sugar level.
Biotin promotes healthy hair and nails and although it is found in many cosmetic products it cannot be absorbed through the skin. Biotin can be sourced from various foods, including beans, brewer’s yeast, cauliflower, egg yolks, fish, kidney, legumes, liver, meat, molasses, dairy products, nuts, oatmeal, oysters, peanut butter, poultry, wheat germ, and whole grains.
Its abundance in food means that it is naturally consumed as part of a balanced diet.
Vitamin B7: Recommended Daily Intake
Currently there is no RDI set for biotin but there are suggested adequate intake levels (AI).
- Infants 0-12 months – 7mcg
- Children 1-3 years – 8 mcg
- Children 4-8 years – 12 mcg
- Children 9-13 years – 20mcg
- Adolescents 14-18 years – 25mcg
- Adults over 18 years and pregnant women – 30 mcg
- Lactating women – 35 mcg
Vitamin B7 deficiency is rare and symptoms are fairly mild and easily addressed with supplementation. Symptoms of deficiency are alopecia, dermatitis (a red scaly rash may appear around the eyes, nose, and mouth), and conjunctivitis. Neurological symptoms may also occur in the form of depression, hallucination, lethargy, and numbness and tingling. There is a condition known as “biotin-deficient face,” where the main characteristic is an unusual fat distribution across the face usually accompanied by a rash. Raw egg whites are known to bind vitamin B7 and stop it from being absorbed in the intestine. There is also some evidence that smoking may contribute to deficiency.
Vitamin B7: Risk of Overdose
Studies conducted on animals have show little if any toxic effects from high doses of biotin, therefore it is highly likely that humans can tolerate far larger doses than the recommended daily intake. There is no evidence of adverse effects from taking high doses of vitamin B7.
Read more about the B Vitamin family