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18Aug

NUTRIENTS A-Z: Biotin (Vitamin B7, B8, or H)

Biotin is also called vitamin H, vitamin B₇ or vitamin B₈.  It is a water-soluble vitamin and is involved in a wide range of metabolic processes, both in humans and in other organisms, primarily related to the utilization of fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids.  All B vitamins help the body to convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy. B vitamins are needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver and they also help the nervous system function properly.

Food sources include nuts, fruits, brewer’s yeast, beef liver, organ meats, egg yolk, milk, brown rice, wheat germ, legumes, soybeans, lentils, mungbean sprouts, whole grains.

Biotin deficiency in humans is rare but can be brought on by prolonged consumption of raw eggs because raw egg whites contain an antimicrobial protein (avidin) that tightly binds with biotin and prevents its absorption.

Biotin deficiency symptoms include:
•    Shiny skin, dry and scaly
•    Tongue purplish-red, swollen & painful
•    Nausea
•    Muscular pains
•    Mental depression
•    Poor appetite
•    Fingernails a pale color, pale complexion
•    Sleeplessness
•    Irregular heartbeat
•    Hair loss, brittle hair
•    Loss of skin pigment

Supplementary range:  50 to 110 mg daily
 

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