To Know Or Not To Know …
Vitamin B7 or biotin is an essential water soluble nutrient.
Biotin is a coenzyme for carboxylase enzymes, involved in the synthesis of fatty acids, isoleucine, and valine, and in gluconeogenesis (formation of glucose from protein).
Biotin is necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids.
It plays a role in the citric acid cycle, which is the process by which biochemical energy is generated.
Biotin is often recommended for strengthening hair and nails. Biotin is also important for normal embryonic growth, making it a critical nutrient during pregnancy.
Biotin is consumed from a wide range of food sources in the diet, but few are particularly rich sources.
Biotin can be found in brewer's yeast, cooked eggs, especially egg yolk (not raw egg whites, which interfere with absorption), sardines, almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, soybeans, beans, blackeye peas, whole grains, cauliflower, bananas and mushrooms.
Adults over the age of 18 and pregnant women need 30 micrograms of vitamin B7 a day to adequately meet the body's needs. Lactating women need 35 micrograms a day.
Biotin deficiency is relatively rare and mild, and can be addressed with supplementation.
Symptoms of biotin deficiency include: hair loss (alopecia), conjunctivitis, dermatitis in the form of a scaly, red rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, and in the genital area, depression, lethargy, hallucination, and numbness and tingling of the extremities.
Pregnant women tend to have a high risk of biotin deficiency, which may cause infants' congenital malformations, such as cleft palate.
Infants and embryos are more sensitive to the biotin deficiency.
Therefore, even a mild level of the mother's biotin deficiency that does not reach the appearance of physiological deficiency signs may cause a serious consequence in the infants.
There are no reported cases of adverse effects from receiving high doses of the vitamin.
Doses of up to 5,000 micrograms/day for two years have not lead to adverse effects.
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