Biotin is one of those nutrients that are not commonly known any longer as a vitamin. In the so-called “normal” healthy population, real deficiencies are rare because our normal intestinal bacteria can manufacture large amounts of this nutrient. There are, however, some things it has in common with other vitamins.
Biotin is another of those vitamins commonly added to cosmetics in products for hair, nails and skin. Unfortunately, the real hard evidence supporting such usage appears to be relatively slim.
Primarily, biotin deficiency, like other B-vitamin deficiencies, tends to show as a skin rash, as well as fatigue and depression. This deficiency can affect hair and skin health; such is the rationale for adding it to personal care products. This may be more severe in diabetics and alcoholics.
In diabetes, it may actually be that the need for biotin is greater than average. We also know that when diabetic patients are given this supplementation, along with the other B-vitamins, blood lipid and sugar profiles can improve.
It is largely available in a wide variety of foods. But unlike some other nutrients we have recently discussed, it is present only in very small amounts.
Follow our advice with regard to frequent leafy green and other vegetable consumption.
There are, of course, exceptions. If you have been on long-term antibiotics, which can kill normal intestinal bacteria, you could be at risk for a biotin deficiency.
Some genetic disorders means certain patients need higher amounts of biotin than others.
Lastly, intestinal surgery and gastric bypass procedures affect absorption of many vitamins. This is no exception.
Eggs and swiss are said to contain the highest amount of biotin foods. Raw eggs are not a good food source; cooked ones actually contains fair amounts of available biotin. Because of the danger of salmonella, we don’t recommend raw egg consumption anyway.
So you can see again that, like in so much of good nutrition, a wide variety of foods are really key to helping prevent deficiencies, low intakes, and the health problems they can cause.
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