BIOTIN (vitamin H)

Biotin is a member of the B COMPLEX and formerly designated as vitamin H, this water-soluble VITAMIN assists in energy production in the body. It is essential for synthesizing saturated fatty acids from CARBOHYDRATE and for synthesizing BLOOD SUGAR from non-carbohydrate precursors like lactic acid and pyruvic acid during STARVATION and FASTING. Biotin functions as a protein-bound COENZYME, assisting primarily in reactions in which enzymes transfer carbon dioxide to compounds to create carboxylic acids (carboxylation reactions). The oxidation of the short-chain fatty acid, propionic acid, requires biotin, as does the breakdown of the essential amino acid leucine. The safe and adequate daily intake for adults, except for pregnant women, is estimated to be 100 to 200 mcg.

Intestinal bacteria supply biotin. Furthermore, biotin is very widespread in food, including egg yolk, liver, dark green leafy vegetables and whole grains, so deficiencies are extremely rare. Deficiency symptoms include dermatitis, depression, pain and weakness. Biotin supplements are very safe: There is no known toxicity even with high doses. Biotin does not cure baldness, nor does it cure dermatitis, two purported therapeutic uses of this vitamin. AVIDIN is a protein in raw egg white that functions as an antimicrobial agent to protect the yolk. Avidin binds biotin tightly, and it has been used to induce biotin deficiency in experimental animals. Because large amounts of raw egg white are very rarely consumed avidin consumption is not an issue.