Biotin – What is it and How is it Useful?



Biotin refers to water-soluble vitamins which contains sulfur compound. At times, Biotin is also called vitamin H. In the human body, this vitamin is excreted in the intestines by bacteria, while in foods it is found attached to protein or amino acid lysine known as biocytin.

Degradation of biotin proteins typically occurs in the small intestines or digestive tract, thereby being released inform of biocytin, biotin or biotinly peptides. Both biotinly peptidase and biocytin are further hydrolyzed by an enzyme known as biotinidase to produce free biotin which is capable of being absorbed into the body. Biotin obtained from various foods is much lower as compared to other B vitamins.




Other Names

Biotina, Vitamin B7, W Factor, Cis-hexahydro-2-oxo-1H-thieno[3,4-d]-imidazole-4-valeric Acid, Coenzyme R, Vitamin H, Biotine-D and D-Biotin.


Foods Rich in Biotin

Milk, Oats, Brewer`s yeast, Eggs, Fish, Wheat bran, Wheat germ, Cheese, Maize, Meats especially pig kidney and liver, Unpolished brown rice, Vegetables, Yoghurt


Uses of Biotin

Biotin is a vital vitamin in all organisms though numerous plants and mammals are incapable of synthesizing it. This vitamin is a cofactor for 5 key enzymes namely known as carboxylases, enzymes considered essential for metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

5 major carboxylases enzymes in mammalian cells include: acetyl coenzyme A (cQa) which assists in synthesizing of fats fatty acids, propionyl CoA carboxylase which is essential for amino acids metabolism, pyruvate carboxylase which helps in synthesizing of fats and amino acids to produce glucose, beta-methylcrotonyl CoA carboxylase which assists in leucine synthesis, and lastly, propionyl CoA carboxylase which assists in metabolism of abnormal chain fatty acids, amino acids and cholesterol. According to the recent research, biotinylation is helpful in regulation of gene expression.

Biotin is used as one of the home remedies for various diseases such as: skin problems, scalp disease, prevention of cot death administered to babies, leiner’s disease, alopecia and seborrheic dermatitis. In addition, it prevents occurrence of nausea, sleepiness, fatigue, depression, diminished reflexes, loss of appetite, muscular pains and smooth tongue.


Mechanism of Action

Biotin uses Histones biotinylation as its main mechanism of action. Histones refer to type of proteins that attach to DNA and enclose it to form a compact structure called nucleosomes, crucial structure machinery or components of chromosomes. For transcription and replication to occur, compact DNA packaging must be in a relaxed mood. Histones modification caused by attachment of methylation and acetyl, affects their structure, thereby affecting DNA transcription and replication. Additionally, mounting research indicates that, Histones play a vital role I cellular proliferation as well as other cellular responses.


Requirements and Recommendation

Biotin requirements and recommendation differs based on the age of the patient, for example:The recommended dosage for infants ranging from 0 to 6 months is 5mcg/day while those aged between 7 and 12 months is 6mcg/day;Children aged between 1 and 3 year require 8mcg/day while those between 4 and 8 year require 12mcg/dayMales and females aged 9 to 13 years should take 20mchg/day, 14 to 18 years- 25mcg/day and 19 years and above-30mcg/dayPregnancy at 18 years and below or 19 to 50 years, the recommended dosage is 30mcg/day while for lactation should be 35 mcg/day.


Is Biotin Safe to Take?

According to the Institute of Medicine, the safety of Biotin relies on sticking to the recommended dosage as overdose can have some undesirable body reactions.


Side Effects

like any other medication, Biotin also have some side effects for example, according to Linus Pauling Institute, patients on long-term anti-seizure or anticonvulsant therapy are likely to suffer from reduced biotin levels in their blood and high urinary elimination of organic acids due to decreases carboxylase activity. Anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine and primidone inhibit the absorption of biotin in the intestines especially small intestine. Chronic therapy with phenytoin, carbamazepine or Phenobarbital increases urinary secretion of 3-hydroxyisoveleric acid. Reduced biotinidase in children is commonly associated with usage of anticonvulsant valproic acid. On the other hand, long-term use of sulfa drugs treatment theoretically leads to increased dietary biotin requirement.

Skin eruptions: use of biotin for a prolonged duration can lead to development of skin reactions as it increases the skin sensitivity, thereby making it susceptible to various skin disorders.

Allergic reaction: though biotin is safe, individuals who are allergic to cobalamin or cobalt are exempted from taking it as it can lead to life-threatening conditions such as throat and chest tightness. Additionally, anaphylaxis can lead to severe respiratory or breathing problems and sometimes can lead to consciousness, which might call for emergency care.



Author: Sam Billings

Sammy is the owner of this website and major contributor. Sam's work is also often published in other leading natural health and home remedies websites as well. The content Sam writes about is always thoroughly researched and based on real medical professionals opinions and users testimonials. Sam lives in the Sth Is. of New Zealand.

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