Biotin Research Papers Example
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that belongs to the B complex group of vitamins and is also known as Vitamin H, Vitamin B7 (Coretta et al., n.d.). The vitamin is primarily known as the beauty vitamin because it is beneficial to the healthy growth and appearance, as well as the strength of hair and the healthy condition of skin. The popularity of biotin in the treatment of hair and skin earned it a name “Vitamin H” from the German words “haar” and “haut” that mean “hair” and “skin”, respectively. Nonetheless, biotin is much more than a supplement used to achieve healthier appearance, as the vitamin also plays an essential part in metabolism, as well as in the maintenance of nervous system. It can also be used as a treatment of seborrheic dermatitis in infants, also known as cradle cap, diabetes, peripheral neuropathy and other disorders despite the lack of credible studies of its efficiency in the management of these conditions (“Vitamin H (Biotin),” 2013). At the same time, although the vitamin is frequently used as a supplement, the number of studies of biotin it currently too small, and the existing researches do not provide the exact proof of its positive effects on a human body in case of absence of biotin deficiency. For this reason, taking biotin by an individual with a healthy level of Vitamin B7 in a body has never been proved to be either advantageous or harmful, as most of the studies of biotin are primarily focused on the cases of biotin deficiency. At the same time, the vitamin has become a very popular nutritional supplement because of its declared non-toxicity if taken in large doses and its promoted, yet questionable benefits for a human body.
The discovery of biotin was made possible by the contributions of several scientists at the beginning of the 20th century. It was first discovered by W.G. Bateman in 1916 because of the deficiency of vitamin in the bodies of rats that were fed raw egg whites in excess, and already in 1926 the symptoms of toxicity were called egg-white injury syndrome (Coretta et al., n.d.).The scientists learned that the syndrome does not occur when rats are given certain food including liver, yeast, egg yolks, etc., and in 1935 Kogl and Gyory suggested the name “biotin” for the vitamin that was found to protect the rats from the syndrome (Coretta et al., n.d.). Nowadays, biotin is considered an important factor in nutrition. It helps convert carbohydrates into glucose, which gives the body its energy, and it also participates in metabolism of fats and proteins (“Vitamin H (Biotin),” 2013). Biotin is also a co-factor in the metabolism of carbon dioxide (Scheinfeld, 2014). At the same time, despite the important functions of biotin in the body, much information about the vitamin remains unknown, including the mechanism of intestinal absorption of biotin and its route to the peripheral tissues; at the same time, while the intestinal flora is known to produce biotin, it is still unclear if it is being absorbed by the body and in what amounts (Scheinfeld, 2014). For this reason, it is hard to estimate the amount of vitamin already present in the body and used by it, and there is currently no concrete daily requirement of biotin in the diet (Scheinfeld, 2014). However, as biotin is water-soluble, it is not stored by the body to be used in future in case of deficiency and is output from the organism with urine. This means that body needs biotin to be replenished daily in order to avoid deficiency and the disorder that it might cause. Biotin is a very important nutrient factor for the normal growth of the embryo that takes it from the mother’s body, and, for this reason, women often experience the vitamin deficiency (Coretta et al., n.d.).
Humans with good health do not usually need special supplements of biotin in their diet, as they receive the vitamin by through a healthy and regular diet, as, according to Scheinfeld, the approximate requirement of the vitamin per day is very low and is about 150-300 mcg per day, and biotin is found in many foods that are consumed often, with most of the foods containing enough biotin to supply the body with it, although foods in general contain relatively small amounts of this vitamin compared to other vitamins (Scheinfeld, 2014). At the same time, according to the studies, the intestinal flora produces the vitamin in excess, so at least a part of it is presumed to be absorbed by the body, and if used, it is recycled before being naturally discharged by the body (Scheinfeld, 2014). According to the Medical Center of the University of Maryland, the most common sources of biotin are “brewer's yeast; cooked eggs, especially egg yolk; sardines; nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts) and nut butters; at soybeans; other legumes (beans, blackeye peas); whole grains; cauliflower; bananas; and mushrooms”, but biotin is also often available as a supplement separately, in the complexes of multivitamins, as well as with other B-vitamins, and the doses vary depending on the manufacturer, with some of them producing pills with extremely high concentration of biotin (“Vitamin H (Biotin),” 2013). According to Jane Higdon and Victoria J. Drake of the Linus Pauling Institute of the Oregon State University, although the national surveys regarding nutrition failed to present any precise conclusions because of the lack of data, the presumable average intake of biotin per day by adults is about 40-60 mcg, with a cooked egg, cooked liver (3 ounces), cooked salmon (3 ounces) and yeast (7-gram packet) containing the highest amounts of biotin (Higdon & Drake, 2008). It is particularly important to eat eggs cooked, as raw egg whites contain a protein that is called avidin, which binds with biotin and prevents it from being used by the body (“Vitamin H (Biotin),” 2013). At the same time, while biotin is present in many foods, in some of them it is present in a form that makes it impossible for the body to absorb the vitamin, making it hard to calculate the amount of biotin that is received and actually used by the organism (Scheinfeld, 2014). While the daily requirement for biotin has not been established yet for the aforesaid reasons, in 1998 the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has presented the Adequate Intake (AI) amount of biotin (Higdon & Drake, 2008). These established levels are the same for both sexes, with alteration made for pregnant women. The adequate intake of Vitamin H for healthy infants of up to 6 months old is 5 mcg/day, for infants of 7-12 months old it is 6 mcg/day, for children from 1 to 3 years old it amounts to 8 mcg/day, for 4-8-year-old children it is 12 mcg/day, and for children between 9 and 13 years old the amount of daily biotin intake should be 20 mcg (Higdon & Drake, 2008). Adolescents should consume about 25 mcg of biotin a day and adults of both sexes and of all ages, including pregnant women should consume 30 mcg of the vitamin daily; at the same time, the breastfeeding women should increase the intake to 35 mcg per day (Higdon & Drake, 2008).
Studies have shown that biotin is not toxic, which means that if a person overdoses it, the vitamin will not likely have any adverse effects on the body, and the excessive amount will be excreted with urine and feces (Coretta et al., n.d.). The possible and rare side-effects associated with the overdose of biotin are frequent urination and increased sweating (Coretta et al., n.d.). According to Higdon and Drake, doses as high as 200,000 mcg per day have been taken by people with abnormal biotin metabolism without negative effects, and when taken for 2 years, doses as high as 5 mg/day were tolerated without side-effects by people with normal biotin metabolism (Higdon & Drake, 2008). However, there has been one case of biotin overdose that led to eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion in an elderly woman, who took 10 mg of this vitamin and 300 mg of pantothenic acid daily for two months (Higdon & Drake, 2008). Other very rare side effects that have been noticed in connection with overdose are miscarriages and birth defects in mice caused by the decreased size of placenta; however, these effects have not been reported in regard to the pregnant women (Coretta et al., n.d.). In some cases, overdosing was reported to have caused very fast nail and hair growth (Coretta et al., n.d.). As these side-effects are extremely rare and no studies have shown that overdose with Vitamin H can cause harm, the upper limit of its intake currently is not known (Higdon & Drake, 2008).
Biotin deficiency caused by the overconsumption of raw egg whites is the disease that led to the discovery of biotin. As mentioned above, it is a very rare condition because of the sufficient amount of the vitamin taken daily by a human with healthy diet. There are several known possible causes of biotin deficiency. First of them is eating raw egg whites, which can quickly and certainly cause the disease. The second cause is the total parenteral nutrition that is not supported by the supplementation of biotin; the third cause is taking anticonvulsant drugs, such as “phenytoin, primidone, and carbamazepine, may lead to biotin deficiency”, excluding valproic acid, because they prevent biotin absorption in the intestines and speed up its catabolism (Scheinfeld, 2014). The fourth possible cause is treatment with oral antibiotics for a long time, as they alter the flora of the intestines, which is known to produce biotin (Scheinfeld, 2014). The fifth possible cause is genetic mutations, as there are currently 140 known gene mutations that cause the disease, and the sixth cause is the diet, during which body is fed with large amount of proteins and small amount of fat, also known as the ketogenic diet (Scheinfeld, 2014). The first most common occurring symptom of the disease is the increased dryness of skin, brittle and thin hair and often seborrheic dermatitis, as well as possible alopecia; in this case, the change in skin causes the overgrowth of fungal infections that can sometimes be killed only by treating the deficiency (Scheinfeld, 2014). The second symptom is the loss of hearing, whose level depends on the level of deficiency; the third group of systems is neurological, with patients developing mild depression, generalized muscular pains, hyperesthesias, and paresthesias; the fourth group of symptoms is connected with the intestines, as people with biotin deficiency can have nausea, develop anorexia (Scheinfeld, 2014). Depending on the developed symptoms and on the causes of the disease, the treatment includes the administration of biotin of different dosages intramuscularly or intravenously, termination of raw eggs consumption, inclusion of biotin supplementation into a therapy, as well as symptomatic treatment (Scheinfeld, 2014).
Biotin is an essential part of the human everyday diet, as, despite the small amount of researches regarding the vitamin, it is still considered an important factor in the development of the newborns, as well as in maintenance of healthy metabolism in adults. While some people may misuse biotin because of its non-toxicity and promoted beauty benefits, it is crucial to remember that there are numerous aspects of biotin’s mechanism of work and its structure that remain unknown to the scientists. For this reason, the usage of biotin as a drug and supplement should be done with caution despite the very small number of report on side-effects of overdosing. At the same time, the increased consumption of the vitamin on adequate intake levels can lead to more reports and data regarding biotin’s effects, which may contribute to the further researches, especially those regarding the treatment of diabetes types 1 and 2. Nutritionists should consider all available and credible information before advising their clients to take biotin as a supplement, and the first advisable source for the vitamin should be food that naturally contains increased amount of Vitamin H.
Coretta, C., Bowers, E., Cox, T., Jewell, R., Johnson, B., Overman, D., Davis, K. (n.d.). Biotin. Retrieved January 3, 2015, from http://www4.ncsu.edu/~knopp/BCH451/Biotin.htm
Higdon, J., & Drake, V. (2008, January 1). Biotin. Retrieved January 3, 2015, from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/biotin/
Scheinfeld, N. (2014, February 6). Biotin Deficiency . Retrieved January 3, 2015, from http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/984803-overview
Vitamin H (Biotin). (2013, June 24). Retrieved January 3, 2015, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-h-biotin
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