Signs of Vitamin B7 (Biotin) Deficiency
The body’s biotin (vitamin B7) requirements are small and dietary sources of biotin are many and varied. Small quantities of the nutrient are also produced in the intestines by bacteria. These factors make the occurrence of a deficiency of biotin rare.
However, there are some genetic disorders which increase the risk of developing a deficiency. These disorders include biotinidase deficiency, multiple carboxylase deficiency, and holocarboxylase synthetase deficiency.
Also, eating large quantities of raw egg whites over an extended period can result in a biotin deficiency. Eggs whites contain high amounts of a protein called avidin. Avidin strongly bonds to biotin, reducing the body’s ability to absorb the vitamin.
Some studies indicate that many pregnant women are marginally biotin deficient. If you are pregnant, you may want to consider taking a supplement that contains biotin. Always check with your physician before taking any nutritional supplements.
A deficiency of vitamin B7 is treated by taking biotin supplements. Many people also take a supplement to ensure they are getting all the health benefits of biotin.
Although biotin deficiency is a rare nutritional problem, it can be very serious. If a deficiency goes untreated, it can even cause death. Some of the physical signs and symptoms that can develop as a result of a deficiency of vitamin B7 include:
- Skin rashes, particularly a form of rash that forms around the mouth
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Dry and brittle hair
- Partial or complete hair loss (alopecia)
- Fatigue and weakness
- Muscle pain
- Tingling sensations
- Getting fungal infections
A deficiency of vitamin B7 is also associated with various psychological and emotional symptoms, including:
- Lethargy and malaise, along with mild depression
Signs of Vitamin B7 (Biotin) Overdose and Toxicity
An overdose of vitamin B7 (biotin) is rare. Its toxicity level is many times what could be ingested through diet. Also, as a water-soluble B vitamin, excess biotin is efficiently flushed out of the body via urine.
The body is able to tolerate very large doses of biotin very well. Vitamin B7 is not thought to be toxic, at this time. In healthy people not suffering from any problems relating to metabolizing biotin, doses of 5 milligrams per day for two years did not result in any significant negative side effects. A dosage of 5 milligrams is over 150 times the daily adequate intake, as defined by the National Academy of Sciences.
However, some people experience mild side effects from taking excessive amounts of biotin. These symptoms include:
- Skin rash and redness
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Restlessness or insomnia
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Creative commons image credits: Amras666 | Acute form of seborrhoeic dermatitis on scalp