Vitamin H, Vitamin B7, Coenzyme R.
It belongs to Vitamin B-complex.
Biotin – comes from Greek word ‘biotos’, meaning life.
Biotin is also known as vitamin H (the H represents Haar und Haut, German words for “hair and skin”).
Think of Vitamin H as hair vitamin! Biotin can only be produced by bacteria, molds, yeasts, algae, and certain plants.
- Pharmacological actions
- Pharmacological functions
Chemistry of Biotin: Forms, Antagonists
Forms: 4 forms: free biotin, biocytin (Є-biotinyl-L-lysine), D and L sulfoxides of biotin.
Antagonist: Avidin, biotin sulfone, desthiobiotin & certain imidazolidone carboxylic acids. Avidin is a glycoprotein that binds with great affinity & thus prevents it s absorption.
Pharmacological actions: Non toxic in humans despite continued usage in large quantities for many months.
Pharmacological functions: Cofactor for enzyme carboxylation of 4 substrates: pyruvate, acetyl coenzyme (CoA), propionyl CoA & β-methylcrotonyl CoA. Plays an important role in fat & carbohydrate metabolism.
Absorption: rapidly absorbed from alimentary canal.
Fate: Biotin remains intact as mammals are unable to degrade the ring system of biotin.
Excretion: appears in urine as intact biotin & is lesser quantity as 2 breakdown products – bis-norbiotin & biotin sulfoxide.
1) Growth: A normal process of increase in size of an organism as a result of increase of tissue similar to that originally present.
2) Regeneration: The natural renewal of a structure.
3) Recovery: Return to health.
4) Repair: The physical or mechanical restoration of damaged or diseased tissues by growth of healthy cells or surgery.
5) Alopecia: A disease in which the hair falls out; baldness; absence of hair from skin areas where it is normally present.
- Biotin is known as vitamin for beauty and health of a human body.
- Biotin is a water soluble vitamin, meaning the body does not store it.
- Biotin activates protein/amino acid formation in the roots of the hair and cells of nails.
- Biotin strengthens hair and nails.
- Biotin is an essential cofactor to enzymes in metabolism and a regulator of gene expression.
- Biotin is essential for growth of cells & in production of fatty acids.
- Biotin helps in metabolism of fats and amino acids.
- Biotin makes skin become healthier and also diminishes stretch marks on skin.
- 7 micrograms for infants 0-12 months.
- 8 micrograms for children 1-3 years.
- 12 micrograms for children 4-8 years.
- 20 micrograms for children 9-13 years.
- 25 micrograms for adolescents 14-18 years.
- 30 micrograms for adults over 18 years and pregnant women (biotin sufficiency is necessary for normal development of the fetus in the womb).
- 35 micrograms for breast-feeding women.
However, when biotin is taken to increase the hair growth, then a higher dose is required.
Biotin is produced by the normal flora (bacteria living in the intestine normally) in quantity that is more than sufficient. Therefore biotin deficiency is rare.
Even when biotin is taken in excess, it is simply excreted out of the body via urine, as it is a water soluble vitamin. Biotin is non toxic.
Symptoms of deficiency:
- Weak hair follicles cannot retain hair, leading to hair loss
- Hair thinning/Hair loss
- Loss of eyebrows and eyelashes
- Skin rash
- Pins and needles sensation in hands & feet
- Compromised immune system with increased chances of developing bacterial and fungal infections
Causes of Biotin deficiency:
- Different inborn genetic errors that alter the activity of biotin-related enzymes.
- Metabolic disorders, where biotin formation & breakdown is abnormal.
- Alcoholics & smokers.
- By excessive ingestion of raw egg white. Avidin is the protein that is found in uncooked raw egg whites. This protein binds with biotin and decreases it’s availability in the body for important functions. Avidin is destroyed by boiling or cooking the egg.
- Partial gastrectomy (part of stomach has been surgically removed).
- Cases of achlorhydria (where stomach doesn’t produce digestive juices in sufficient quantity).
- Individuals having blood group type A.
- Those suffering from GERD or severe acid reflux.
- In burn patients.
- In those suffering from epilepsy.
- Geriatric age group – elderly individuals.
- In athletes.
- During Pregnancy and lactation.
Overcoming the deficiency:
By natural sources or by nutritional supplements:
Vegetarian: Nuts, like peanuts, pecans, almonds and walnuts, soybeans, nut butters and beans, whole grains and cereals, bananas, mushrooms, cauliflower, dairy products, wheat products, carrots, Swiss chard, yeast, avocado, raspberries.
Non vegetarian: Organ meats (liver, kidney), Egg yolk, fish like halibut, salmon.
Processing of food destroys biotin. And raw or less processed food contains more biotin in active form.
Nutritional supplements: Take biotin supplement with a heavy meal, lots of oral fluids including water and it is preferable to start with minimum dosage and gradually increase it, as your body responds favourably to it.
Action of Biotin on Hair Growth:
- It preserves hair strength, hair texture and hair appearance.
- It promotes healthy hair growth.
- It prevents dryness of hair.
- It increases the elasticity of hair cortex and thus prevents and reduces breakage of hair.
- Preventing breakage of hair is the most important milestone when you are trying for longer hair. Breakage will stop your hair from growing to their maximum length, no matter how fast the hair is growing.
- It induces growth of hair and new skin cells, and makes them healthy.
- It nourishes weak hair and hydrates them.
- It may promote hair regrowth in areas where it is patchy or spotty.
- For those who are having hair loss, taking more biotin may help their hair grow thicker, longer & healthier.
- Females suffering from severe hair loss issues due to stress and certain health conditions have improved dramatically by regular intake of biotin supplements.
- Biotin can help increasing hair volume and thickness, in those who suffer from temporary hair thinning.
- Biotin doesn’t stimulate new hair growth. But it renews the follicles and hair roots that are already growing. It gives fuller, thicker & much healthier hair.
- Cases of chronic severe baldness will not benefit from biotin that much as compared to those having hair fall since a shorter period of time.
- But biotin is considered safe even in large doses in most of the people and seeing the benefits versus the risks, biotin supplements can be taken regularly.
- Biotin does not increase the speed of hair growth.
- But regular & long-term use of biotin will result in luxuriant hair growth.
- When biotin for hair growth is taken for a period of 3-6 month, beneficial results are evident.
- Biotin won’t re-grow a full head of hair in chronic baldness, but better results will be seen when used in conjunction of saw palmetto supplement.
- Biotin was found to reverse hair loss in children treated with the antiepileptic medicine, valproic acid.
- Pregnant females and lactating mothers should taken biotin only under medical supervision.
Goodman & Gilman’s The Pharmacological basis of therapeutics, 10th edition.