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Vitamin B7 (Biotin) and your health
Biotin is one of the most popular vitamins, mainly due to its beneficial effect on hair, nails and skin quality. This water-soluble vitamin is also important in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, as well as utilization of vitamins B9 (folic acid), B12 and vitamin C.
Biotin is found in small amounts in most foods; it is also synthesized by friendly intestinal bacteria. Hence its deficiency is unlikely, unless caused by gastrointestinal disturbance.
Prolonged biotin deficiency can cause skin disorders (eczema, seborrhea), hair loss, brittle nails, as well as a variety of other symptoms, including loss of appetite, elevated cholesterol, low blood sugar, muscle pains and depression.
Toxic and negative effects from the excess biotin intake are unlikely. However, they are possible, and include disturbed insulin function, elevated blood sugar, skin problems, and others.
Daily biotin DRI (Dietary Reference Intakes, the most recent set of dietary recommendations set by the government) for an average healthy adult is 0.03mg a day. This is down from the old RDA for biotin of 0.15mg-0.3mg, and probably unrealistically low. Optimum daily biotin intake is more likely to be in the 0.2mg-0.3mg range.
Best natural biotin food sources are soybean, peanuts, egg yolks, walnuts, almonds, fruits and vegetables.
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