Principal Proposed Uses
- Supplementation During Pregnancy
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that plays an important role in metabolizing the energy we get from food. Biotin assists four essential enzymes that break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Biotin deficiency is rare, except, possibly, among pregnant women. All proposed therapeutic uses of biotin supplements are highly speculative.
Although biotin is a necessary nutrient, we usually get enough from bacteria living in the digestive tract. Severe biotin deficiency has been seen in people who frequently eat large quantities of raw egg white. Raw egg white contains a protein that blocks the absorption of biotin. Fortunately, cooked egg white does not present this problem.
The official US and Canadian recommendations for daily intake of biotin are as follows:
- 0-5 months: 5 mcg
- 6-11 months: 6 mcg
- 1-3 years: 8 mcg
- 4-8 years: 12 mcg
- 9-13 years: 20 mcg
Males and Females
- 14-18 years: 25 mcg
- 19 years and older: 30 mcg
- Pregnant Women: 30 mcg
- Nursing Women: 35 mcg
Good dietary sources of biotin include brewer's yeast, nutritional (torula) yeast, whole grains, nuts, egg yolks, sardines, legumes, liver, cauliflower, bananas, and mushrooms.
For people with diabetes, the usual recommended dosage of biotin is 7,000 to 15,000 mcg daily.
For treating "cradle cap" (a scaly head rash often found in infants), the usual dosage of biotin is 6,000 mcg daily, given to the nursing mother (not the child). A lower dosage of 3,000 mcg daily is used to treat brittle fingernails and toenails.
All the proposed uses of biotin discussed here are speculative, based on highly incomplete evidence.
On the basis of virtually no evidence at all, biotin has been proposed for treating cradle cap in infants.
Biotin appears to be quite safe. However, maximum safe dosages for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease have not been established.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
- Anticonvulsant medications : You may need extra biotin, but do not take more than the dosage recommendations listed in the Requirements/Sources section. In addition, take the vitamin 2 to 3 hours apart from the medication.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 07/2012 -
- Update Date: 07/25/2012 -