Biotin (occasionally known as Vitamin H) helps the body to make best use of fats and proteins, and to maintain a steady level of sugar in the blood. It keeps the skin and hair healthy, and may enhance the performance of atheletes.
Availability in food
Small amounts of biotin are found in brewer's yeast, meat, nuts and dairy products, and bacteria in the intestine make up any dietary shortfall. Biotin is not lost in cooking.
What if your intake is too low?
Provided the calorie intake is adequate, biotin deficiency is uncommon. However, raw egg white contains a substance that can bind with biotin in the stomach and prevent its absorption into the body. People who eat large amounts of raw eggs develop nausea, fatigue, dermatitis and depression.
When extra may be needed
- During pregnancy and lactation
- If you take long-term antibiotics
- If you are on a restricted and very low-calorie diet
(Pregnant and breastJeeding women should consult a doctor, midwife, or qualified nutritional therapist before taking any vitamin or mineral supplements.)
Can too much be toxic?
There are no known toxic symptoms, probably because excess is easily lost in the urine and faeces.
Using a supplement
Biotin is best taken as part of a balanced Bvitamin tablet or capsule, unless your doctor or nutritional health practitioner advises otherwise.