• Biocytin (Brewer's Yeast Biotin Complex)
• Supplementation During
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that plays an important role in metabolizing the energy we get from food. Biotin assists four essential enzymes that break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Biotin deficiency is rare, except, possibly, among pregnant women. All proposed therapeutic uses of biotin supplements are highly speculative.
Although biotin is a necessary nutrient, we usually get enough from bacteria living in the digestive tract. Severe biotin deficiency has been seen in people who frequently eat large quantities of raw egg white. Raw egg white contains a protein that blocks the absorption of biotin. Fortunately, cooked egg white does not present this problem.
The official US and Canadian recommendations for daily intake of biotin are as follows:
- 0-5 months: 5 mcg
- 6-11 months: 6 mcg
- 1-3 years: 8 mcg
- 4-8 years: 12 mcg
- 9-13 years: 20 mcg
- Males and Females
- 14-18 years: 25 mcg
- 19 years and older: 30 mcg
- Pregnant Women: 30 mcg
- Nursing Women: 35 mcg
Good dietary sources of biotin include brewer's yeast, nutritional (torula) yeast, whole grains, nuts, egg yolks, sardines, legumes, liver, cauliflower, bananas, and mushrooms.
There is some evidence that slight biotin deficiency may tend to occur during normal pregnancy. 9
For people with diabetes, the usual recommended dosage of biotin is 7,000 to 15,000 mcg daily.
For treating "cradle cap" (a scaly head rash often found in infants), the usual dosage of biotin is 6,000 mcg daily, given to the nursing mother (not the child). A lower dosage of 3,000 mcg daily is used to treat brittle fingernails and toenails.
All the proposed uses of biotin discussed here are speculative, based on highly incomplete evidence.
Preliminary research suggests that supplemental biotin might help reduce blood sugar levels in people with either type 1 (childhood onset) or type 2 (adult onset)
On the basis of virtually no evidence at all, biotin has been proposed for treating cradle cap in infants.
There are indirect indications that individuals taking
might benefit from biotin supplementation at nutritional doses.
Biotin appears to be quite safe. However, maximum safe dosages for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease have not been established.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
- Anticonvulsant medications : You may need extra biotin, but do not take more than the dosage recommendations listed in the Requirements/Sources section. In addition, take the vitamin 2 to 3 hours apart from the medication.
1. Maebashi M, Makino Y, Furukawa Y, et al. Therapeutic evaluation of the effect of biotin on hyperglycemia in patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. J Clin Biochem Nutr . 1993;14:211-218.
10. Singer GM, Geohas J. The effect of chromium picolinate and biotin supplementation on glycemic control in poorly controlled patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a placebo-controlled, double-blinded, randomized trial. Diabetes Technol Ther . 2006;8:636-43.
11. Albarracin CA, Fuqua BC, Evans JL, et al. Chromium picolinate and biotin combination improves glucose metabolism in treated, uncontrolled overweight to obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2007 May 16. [Epub ahead of print]
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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