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Biotin deficiency symptoms, causes and treatment

What is biotin?

Biotin is a member of the B-vitamin family (Vitamin B7). The name biotin is taken from the Greek word bios, which means life. Biotin is needed for a lot of body processes that break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into fuel you can use. Biotin is also called Vitamin H.

Biotin deficiency causes

Deficiency of biotin has been noted in prolonged intravenous feeding where biotin was omitted.
Biotin deficiency has also been linked with consuming large numbers of egg whites, as egg whites contain a protein which binds to biotin.
Biotin deficiency can result from a genetic lack of biotinidase, an enzyme that releases biotin from small proteins. This lack of biotinidase is a rare hereditary disorder.
Pregnant women may be at risk for borderline biotin deficiency.

Biotin deficiency symptoms

Major biotin deficiency symptoms include hair loss, a dry, scaly rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, and genital area, decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting and failure to thrive in children.

Neurologic symptoms in adults cause depression, lethargy, hallucination, and numbness and tingling of the extremities.
People with hereditary disorders of biotin metabolism resulting in functional biotin deficiency have evidence of impaired immune system function.
Infants deficient in biotin often develop this scaly scalp condition

Sources of Biotin

Adequate intake for biotin has been set at 30 mcg per day for healthy adults.
Biotin is found in a wide variety of foods. Good sources of biotin are liver, oatmeal, eggs, peanut butter, milk, salmon, clams, bananas.
Anticonvulsant medications may lower biotin levels. Additionally, antibiotics may lower the production of biotin because some antibiotics kill bacteria in the colon.

Biotin is not known to be toxic.
Diagnosing a biotin deficiency can be difficult, due to the rarity of this condition and the rather vague symptoms of biotin deficiency.

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