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The Importance of Vitamin B7 – Biotin

By: Robert J Banach Robert J Banach | Leadership Insights | 09/11/13

Category: Vitamins

What is Vitamin B7 – Biotin

Swiss ChardBiotin is a water soluble complex B vitamin, also know as Vitamin H (from the German for hair – Haar) and coenzyme R. As with all water-soluble vitamins it is not stored in the body, and must be replaced on a daily basis.

Biotin is a part of many of our bodies natural processes, and is necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids (the bodies building blocks). It is a vitamin important in the conversion of carbohydrates in to energy.

Biotin assists in various metabolic reactions involving the transfer of carbon dioxide, which is important for the regulation of the bloods pH, it, also, helps in maintaining a steady blood sugar level.

Furthermore, Biotin is important for normal embryonic growth, making it a critical nutrient during pregnancy.  Eating more of the foods that contain Biotin during pregnancy and while breast-feeding is the best way to more biotin.

Sources

Biotin is found in liver, pork, salmon, sardines, avocado, swiss chard, raspberries, and raw cauliflower, in legumes such as beans and blackeye peas, in whole grains, bananas and mushrooms. Nuts are, also, a good source of biotin, such as almonds, pecans and walnuts.

Biotin may, also, be found in cooked eggs, particulary egg yolks.

Finally, biotin is naturally produced in our intestines via the bacteria that naturally occurs there, making it easier for us to maintain our biotin levels.

Avoiding raw egg whites is a key to maintaining Biotin levels in the body, raw egg whites contain avidin, a substance that counters the effects of biotin

Recommended Daily Intake

  • Infants birth – 6 months: 5 mcg
  • Infants 7 – 12 months: 6 mcg
  • Children 1 – 3 years: 8 mcg
  • Children 4 – 8 years: 12 mcg
  • Children 9 – 13 years: 20 mcg
  • Adolescents 14 – 18 years: 25 mcg
  • 19 years and older: 30 mcg
  • Pregnant women: 30 mcg
  • Breastfeeding women: 35 mcg

Supplements

Most people, with a relatively healthy diet, consume sufficient Vitamin B7 (Biotin) each day to meet their daily recommended intake. If you are taking any type of multi-vitamin you will be ingesting more than your daily recommended intake.

Biotin is often recommended as a dietary supplement for strengthening hair and nails, though there is minimal scientific data to support this.  Nevertheless, biotin is found in many cosmetics and health products for the hair and skin.

Deficiency

Incidence of Vitamin B7 deficiency is rare. Some symptoms are hair loss, dry scaly skin and eyes, cracking in the corners of the mouth (called cheilitis), swollen and painful tongue that is magenta in color (glossitis), loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia, and depression. People who have been on parenteral nutrition — nutrition given through an IV — for a long period of time, those taking antiseizure medication or antibiotics long-term, and people with conditions like Crohn’s disease that make it hard to absorb nutrients are more likely to be deficient in biotin.

Toxicity

Animal studies have indicated few, if any, effects due to high level doses of biotin.

Resources
WebMD | Wikipedia | Univ. of MD Medical Center | Medical News Today

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