Vitamin B7 is known by many names such as biotin, choline, coenzyme R, Vitamin B8, or vitamin H. It is a water-soluble vitamin of the B complex, which serves to protect skin and hair (slows down hair whitening process), having a synergistic action with vitamins A, B2, B6. This vitamin inhibits cholesterol deposit at vascular endothelium level, contributes to the elimination of toxic substances and metabolites accumulated inside the body, thus facilitating the functions of the liver and gallbladder.
The biotin can also improve the memorizing capacity. It can be used to treat alcoholism, hypercholesterolemia, atherosclerosis, hypertension, angina pectoris, diabetes, stress, liver cirrhosis, gastric ulcer. This vitamin helps reduce body weight if used in combination with exercise.
The deficiency of vitamin B7
Although biotin deficiency is rare, chronic smokers, alcoholics, pregnant women, people with Crohn’s disease or liver disease are the most likely to suffer from biotin deficiency.
Symptoms of a lack of biotin is manifested by:
- seborrheic dermatitis
- skin too dry or too greasy
- a greyish color of buccal and throat mucosa
- excessive hair loss and dandruff
Besides these signs, people who suffer from deficiency of vitamin B7 also face changes in food appetite, dermatitis and dry scalp formations. In severe cases, biotin deficiency may lead to neurological disabilities and impaired development amongst children.
The excess of vitamin B7 has no negative effects over body because, even in large quantities, this is soluble in water, so the excess is excreted through urine or sweat. However, on rare occasions may appear dermatitis or allergic reactions.
The daily recommended dose of vitamin B7 is:
- 5 micrograms for infants aged between 0-6 months
- 6 micrograms for infants aged between 7-12 months
- 8 micrograms for children aged between 1-3 years old
- 12 micrograms for children aged between 4-8 years old
- 20 micrograms for children with ages between 9-13 years old
- 30 micrograms for healthy adults and pregnant women
- 35 micrograms for lactating women
The best natural sources of vitamin B7 is found in:
- bird meat (especially in organs)
- pork, beef (liver, kidneys)
- dairy products (cheese)
- egg yolk
- fish (salmon, sardines)
- fresh and dried fruits (peanuts, avocado, raspberry, bananas, grapefruit, watermelon)
- vegetables (cauliflower, potatoes, broccoli, spinach, soybean)
- cereals (oats, rice)
Our body naturally generates a large amount of vitamin B7 with the help of bacteria existed inside the intestines.
The Biotin is relatively stable when exposed to heat, light and oxygen. However, an acidic environment can alter this vitamin.
In raw eggs for example, the biotin is typically bound to a sugar-protein molecule (a glycoprotein called avidin) and cannot be absorbed into the body unless the egg is cooked, allowing the biotin to separate itself from the avidin protein.