|Description||Formerly known as Vitamin H or Co-enzyme R, biotin is a water soluble vitamin and a member of the B-vitamins group.|
|Function/ Used for||Biotin works synergistically with other B vitamins. It is involved in energy production through the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It is also essential for the production of RNA and DNA and helps to maintain a healthy nervous system, as well as maintaining the mucous membranes, healthy skin and nails.|
EU NRV: 50µg
UK average daily intake
Requirements vary depending on age and gender. The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey lists up-to-date intake requirements and average intakes1.
|As a supplement||Not generally available as a single supplement. Commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.
Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.
|Found in (dietary sources)||Biotin is found in many foods and is also synthesised by the microflora in the gut.
The richest sources of biotin are liver, kidney, egg yolks, brewer’s yeast and soya beans. Meat, wholegrain cereals, wholemeal bread, milk and cheese are also good sources. Green vegetables contain very little biotin.
|Deficiency||Symptoms include patches of hair loss (alopecia), reversible baldness, depression, muscle pains and wasting. Also, dry, flaky skin, rash around the eyes, nose and mouth, brittle hair, tiredness and loss of appetite.|
|Precautions and contraindications||Safe Upper Level: 970µg/day2|
|Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding||Suitable to be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.|
|Interactions e.g. with other medications||Biotin may interact with anticonvulsant drugs. Long term treatment with anticonvulsant drugs may decrease blood levels of biotin. To avoid side effects, individuals taking anticonvulsants should supplement with biotin either alone or as part of a multivitamin. 3,4|
|Adverse effects||None known.|
3 Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.
4. Gaby, A. R. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. HealthNotes 2006.