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Biotin (Vitamin H)

Biotin (Vitamin H) Description and Overview:

Biotin, which was previously known as vitamin H, is a water-soluble B vitamin which contains sulfer. Biotin is of a compound that is vital to biochemical reactions in the human organism.

The main function of biotin is to aid in the metabolization of carbohydrates, fat, protein for energy. Biotin also is integral to a number of enzymes (functioning as a coenzyme) which are needed for producing energy. The vitamin is also a component necessary for the production and regulation of glucose and certain amino acids. Taking a biotin supplement could help to improve the health of thin, splitting, or brittle toenails and fingernails, and improve the health of hair. Using antibiotics for extended periods may disrupt biotin production in the intestines and may elevate the risk of deficiency-related symptoms, including depresdsion, dermatitis, hair loss, and anemia. Taking anti-seizure medications for long periods of time could also result in a deficiency. Read more about the benefits and functions of biotin and signs of biotin deficiency.

Biotin can be readily obtained from consuming organ meats (such as liver and kidney), beans and legumes, peanut butter, breads and other whole grain foods, dairy products, fish, mushrooms, and yeast. Egg yolks are also a good food source, however egg whites contain a compound that strongly binds to biotin preventing it from being absorbed by the intestines. The processing of food products can destroy biotin in food. Foods that are less processed generally contain larger amounts of vitamin H. Read more about sources of biotin and the daily requirement of biotin.

No negative side-effects have been observed for biotin intakes of up to 10 mg per day. Like the other B vitamins, it is water-soluble, and extra quantities are easily excreted through urine. Read more about biotin overdose.


In food, biotin is usually bound to protein, or found as biocytin (biotin bound lysine, one of the amino acids). Protein-bound biotin is quickly broken-down in the digestive tract, which releases biotin, biotinyl peptides, or biocytin. Biocytin and biotinyl peptides are then further broken-down which releases free biotin. This free biotin is then absorbed. Biocytin can also be absorbed, however much less efficiently.

Bacteria in the intestines create small quantities of biotin, which can then be absorbed and contribute in small part to daily requirements. The vitamin can be found in small amounts in the brain, liver and muscles. Excess biotin is disposed of in urine. It is a vitamin that is stable when exposed to heat, light, and oxygen.

A balanced and varied diet generally includes sufficient quantities of biotin. Vitamin H works most effectively when combined with other B vitamins. There is usually less biotin in food than the other B vitamins.

Biotin is needed by all living things, however mammals and many plants cannot create biotin. Bacteria, fungi, and algae, along with certai plants, are able to synthesize biotin.

Avidin, a protein in egg whites, binds strongly with biotin, disrupting absorption of the vitamin. However, cooking eggs inactivates this protein.

Biotin (Vitamin H) Articles:

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More Information:

Biotin (Vitamin H) Benefits, Functions, Signs of Deficiency

Biotin (Vitamin H) Daily Requirement, Dietary Sources



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