Biotin the Other B Vitamin
Biotin is an essential vitamin, necessary for cell growth, the metabolism of food, and the production of fatty acids. As it is necessary for the assimilation of the B-complex vitamins, biotin is sometimes referred to as vitamin B7, as well as vitamin H. It is well-known as a nutrient for the prevention of hair loss in men because it plays a role in hair and skin maintenance. It is also important for promoting healthy sweat glands, bone marrow, and nerve tissue.
Unquestionably a vital nutrient, are there enough sources of biotin in your diet? A biotin deficiency is rare in adults as the vitamin is found in a variety of foods. If it does occur it can contribute to depression, hair loss, high blood sugar, insomnia, muscular pain, and inflammation of the skin.
While 30 mcg is the minimum recommended amount according to the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, 30 to 100 mcg may have a more positive effect on well-being. According to the US Department of Agriculture, there are no known negative side effects of taking biotin in doses up to 200 mg. A plentiful amount in the diet is believed to help prevent dry skin conditions, neuromuscular problems, intestinal imbalances, as well as hair loss. It is also very important for pregnant women to get plenty of biotin to meet the nutritional demands of pregnancy.
Food Sources of Vitamin B7
Biotin is found in a variety of foods, from meat and dairy to fruits and vegetables.
- One slice of whole wheat bread — .02 to .06 mcg
- Egg, cooked — 13-25 mcg
- Swiss chard, one cup cooked — 10.5 mcg
- One ounce of cheddar cheese — .4 to 2 mcg
- One whole avocado — 2 to 6 mcg
- Fresh raspberries, one cup — .2 to 2 mcg
- Raw cauliflower, one cup — .2 to 4 mcg
- Three ounces of cooked salmon — 4 to 5 mcg
- Three ounces of cooked pork — 2 to 4 mcg
- Three ounces of cooked liver — 25 to 35 mcg
With a balanced diet, it is unlikely that supplemental biotin is necessary to meet daily requirements. On the other hand, it is important to keep in mind that there are factors which can inhibit absorption, such as the consumption of raw egg whites, the use of antibiotics, and saccharin. Other good sources of biotin include beans, brewer’s yeast, peanut butter, soy, mushrooms, and oatmeal. If concerned about your intake of this vitamin, or if you are interested in extra biotin for preventing hair loss, treating dry skin, and addressing muscle pain, be sure to talk to a health care professional about proper doses.
Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrient Research for Optimal Health https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/biotin/
World’s Healthiest Foods https://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=42
Vitamins and Health Supplements Guide https://www.vitamins-supplements.org/biotin.php
Balch, Phyllis A. " Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
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