Biotin or vitamin B8 is a member of vitamin B family. Like all B vitamins, biotin is also water soluble and it is not stored in the body. Biotin is available in various types of food that we eat. It can also be synthesized by intestinal bacteria. Biotin is required in production of vitamin C and it is essential for metabolism of fat and protein.
Deficiency of biotin produces a symptom known as egg-white-injury. Prolonged consumption of raw egg white or patient on parenteral nutrition or malabsorption can produce biotin deficiency. Long term use of anti convulsion medicine and antibiotics can decrease biotin level in the blood.
Biotin deficiency is rare and when present it can manifest with symptoms such as hair loss, dryness in the eyes, skin dryness, hearing difficulty, cracks and fissure in the mouth and its corner, swollen tongue, visual strain. Clinical symptoms are usually observed in patients who are fed through parenteral route (nutrition given through intravenous route). Depression, tingling in hand and finger, lethargy, hallucination are prominent symptoms in adults.
Natural Food Sources Of Biotin Or Vitamin B8
The rich sources of biotin are brewer’s yeast, beef liver, rice bran, rice germ and peanut butter. This vitamin is also normally produced in the intestine in presence of friendly bacteria. However, frequent use of antibiotics can interfere with the synthesis of this vitamin. The normal biotin requirement for the body is 150 to 200 mcg.
Foods that contain enough amount of biotin required by the body are:
- Cereals: Rice bran, oatmeal, brown rice, rice germ, barley and whole wheat.
- Pulses and legumes: Black-eyed peas, split peas, soy bean flour, soya beans, and lentils.
- Vegetables: Cauliflower and mushrooms.
- Nuts: Walnuts, roasted peanut and almonds.
- Animal source: Beef liver, eggs yolk and fish.
Functions And Benefits Of Vitamin B8 In The Body
- Biotin is vital for a healthy immune system. Presence of vitamin 8 together with other B vitamins is helpful in preventing infections, especially those that occur recurrently.
- It is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Biotin enhances the metabolic process and the food is made into energy without any delay.
- Presence of proper amount of biotin in the body is effective in maintaining healthy level of blood sugar. Patients suffering from diabetes may benefit from the biotin.
- It is essential for the growth and health of the hair.
- It prevents premature graying of the hair as well as hair loss. It strengthens the roots and follicles of hair thus the hair is much fuller and thicker. Those who have moderate hair loss may benefit from the use of biotin supplement to make the hair roots healthier.
- This vitamin helps to maintain the skin and the nervous system in a sound condition.
- It controls proper distribution of color pigment.