Biotin, or Vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin that’s a part of the vitamin B complex — a group of key nutrients needed for healthy metabolic, nerve, digestive and cardiovascular functions.
Biotin acts as a coenzyme in the body that’s needed for the metabolism of fatty acids, amino acids and glucose.
This means that when we eat foods that are sources of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, vitamin B7 biotin must be present in order to convert and use these macronutrients for bodily energy, to carry out physical activities and for proper psychological functioning.
Biotin is also a nutrient that helps us keep a young, attractive appearance since it plays a major part in maintaining the health of our hair, nails and skin. In fact, biotin sometimes gets the nickname the “H” vitamin, which stems from the German words Haar andHaut that mean “hair and skin.” Vitamin B7 biotin is commonly added to hair and skin beauty products, although it’s believed to not be absorbed very well through the skin and actually must be ingested to be fully beneficial.
Biotin can be found in foods like organ meats, eggs, avocado, cauliflower, berries, fish, legumes and mushrooms.
Deficiency Can Prevent the Many Biotin Benefits
A vitamin B7 biotin deficiency is rare in nations where people generally consume enough calories and food in general. This is mainly because of three reasons: the recommended daily requirements are relatively low, many common foods provide biotin and researchers believe our intestinal digestive bacteria have the ability to create some vitamin B7 biotin on their own. (1)
Biotin is water-soluble, which means it travels in the bloodstream and any excess or unused quantities present in the body are eliminated through urine. Therefore, the body doesn’t build up reserves of biotin and it’s very difficult to consume too much, for levels considered to be toxic are very rare. However, this also means that you must ideally ingest small amounts of vitamin B7 almost daily to keep your body’s supply high enough. (2)
People who are at an increased risk for vitamin B7 biotin deficiency include those with the following: (3)
- long-term use of certain anti-seizure medications
- prolonged antibiotic use
- intestinal malabsorption issues or serious digestive disorders like Chron’s disease, celiac disease, or leaky gut syndrome
Although a biotin deficiency is very rare, when it does occur symptoms can include:
- dry irritated skin
- brittle hair or hair loss
- lack or energy or chronic fatigue
- digestive and intestinal tract issues
- muscle aches and pains
- nerve damage
- mood changes
- tingling in the limbs
- cognitive impairments
Daily Recommended Values of Biotin (Vitamin B7)
According to the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine, the daily recommended value of biotin is: (4)
- 5 micrograms daily for infants
- 6–8 micrograms daily for infants ages 7 months–3 years
- 12–20 micrograms daily for children ages 4–13
- 25 micrograms for adolescents
- 30 micrograms for male and female adults over 19
- 30 milligrams for pregnant women and 35 milligrams for women who are breastfeeding
Biotin (Vtamin B7) Supplementation
Vitamin B7 can be found as part of B-complex supplements, also sometimes called Adrenal Support Complex or Energy Complex supplements. These types of supplements usually include a full spectrum of B vitamins, including vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin B2 riboflavin and vitamin B3 niacin.
Together the B vitamin complex support metabolism activity, brain functions, nerve signaling and many other important daily functions. They also work with one another, so taking B vitamins together is always the best way to ensure you’ll get the most results.
If you plan to take B vitamin complex supplements, keep in mind that not all supplements are created equal. Purchase a high-quality multivitamin or supplement product that is made from real food sources and doesn’t contain fillers or toxins in order to get the most benefits.
These are made by joining together different collaborative nutrients so your body recognizes the vitamins and minerals and can use them in a synergistic way — similar to how they appear in food sources. Acquiring vitamins like vitamin B7 in this natural way gives you the most beneficial results and helps you avoid unwanted, ineffective, synthetic vitamin fillers and toxins.