Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vitamin H – Biotin

Vitamin H, more commonly known as biotin (the H represents "Haar und Haut”, German words for “hair and skin”) or vitamin B7, is part of the B complex group of vitamins. Biotin is necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids. It also plays a role in the citric acid cycle. Biotin can improve blood sugar control and help lower fasting blood glucose levels in persons with diabetes.

Biotin deficiency is rare because, in general, bacteria in the large intestine produce biotin in excess of the body's daily requirements. Deficiency can be caused by the consumption of raw egg whites (eating two or more uncooked egg whites daily for several months).
Symptoms of overt biotin deficiency include:
• Hair loss
• Pink eye
• Dermatitis in the form of a scaly red rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, and
genital area.
• Neurological symptoms in adults such as depression, lethargy, hallucination, and numbness and tingling of the extremities.

Dietary Sources:
Biotin can be found in brewer's yeast; cooked eggs, especially egg yolk; sardines; nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts) and nut butters; soybeans; other legumes (beans, blackeye peas); whole grains; cauliflower; bananas; and mushrooms.

Raw egg whites contain a protein called Avidin that interferes with the body's absorption of biotin.

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