Vitamin B8 Benefits, Deficiency
by Tom alter
Vitamin B8 is a
water-soluble vitamin, which is not only widely distributed in
food but also manufactured in the lower digestive tract of the human
body. It is very stable when heated.
Benefits of Vitamin B8 -
v Vitamin B8 or biotin is
imperative for a healthy immune system. It is necessary for the
metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats from food. It is also
required for the utilization of proteins, folic acid and vitamin B 12.
v Vitamin B8 plays an important
role DNA and RNA synthesis (genetic material), production of red blood
cells and proper functioning of the nervous system.
v It is essential for the growth
of healthy hair as well as prevents premature greying of the hair as
well as hair loss. Biotin, found as an active ingredient in many of
today's shampoos and hair conditioners, is said to repair damaged hair
and keep hair healthy.
v This vitamin also helps
to maintain the skin in healthy condition. It helps to evenly distribute
the colour pigment - melanin throughout the skin. Deficiency of this
vitamin often leads to pigmentation problems.
v Required in the creation of
glycogen, and is also essential in the making of fatty acids.
v Essential for pregnant women as
it helps prevention of neural tube birth defects
v It has a significant role in red
blood cell formation along with homocysteine metabolism (required for
proper functioning of the heart). Deficiency of Vitamin B-8 results in
megaloblastic anemia. Deficiency of Vitamin B8 -
A deficiency in B8 is rare since
it is widely available in food.
« It is necessary to provide
proper biotin supplementation, in case a person is unable to take a rich
diet. Deficiency signs usually appear after 6 month to 3 years in
adults, but relatively faster in children (3-6 months).
« Adequate biotin intake is
necessary for reducing the risk of brain and spinal cord birth defects.
« Deficiency of biotin causes
muscular weakness, pain, pricking of the skin, lethargy and lack of
appetite. It may cause skin diseases such as eczema, dandruff, hair
loss, seborrhic dermatitis, heart abnormalities, lung infections,
anemia, confusion, mental depression, and drowsiness. In severe cases,
the fleshy part of the tongue may gradually melt away.
« Certain psychiatric symptoms
may also develop due to deficiency such as depression, hallucinations,
sensitivity problems, confusion.
« In children, a psychological
delay is observed, along with ataxia, and convulsions. Metabolic
acidosis may also cause coma.
Deficiency causes -
Inherited metabolic disease was
the first biotin-carboxylase deficiency disease that was recorded in
1979 by Cowan and Wara. It is also the most common cause of inborn
metabolic acidosis - however can be cured by adequate levels of biotin
Other causes of a biotin
v Absorption of large quantities
of crude eggs - avidin that is found in white raw eggs, binds with
biotin and inhibits its absorption in the digestive tract.
v Breast milk which is not rich
enough in biotin - due to poor nutrition of mother.
v Haemodialysis - brain and nerve
v Chronic anti-epilepsy treatment
whereby biotin absorption is reduced due to intake of antiepileptic
v Chronic alcoholism
v Digestive tract diseases in
Biotin is not toxic, even at large
Good dietary sources of Vitamin
Vitamin B8 deficiency is
quite rare, as it is found in mostly all food sources. So, if a person
is following a regular and well balanced healthy diet, it is quite
impossible for him to develop a biotin deficiency. However, rich sources
of biotin in food include -
· Brewer's yeast
· Sprouted seeds
· Whole brown rice
· Whole cereals
· Peanut butter
· Fatty fish
· Egg yolks
· Wheat germ
As mentioned above, eating a
variety of foods that contain vitamin B8 is the best way to get an
adequate amount and prevent deficiency. Healthy individuals who eat a
balanced diet rarely need supplements. This vitamin is also normally
produced in the intestines if there is a sufficient amount of strong
intestinal flora present. However, frequent intake of antibiotics can
interfere with the bodily synthesis of this vitamin.
Dosage of Vitamin B8 -
The daily recommended intake for
Vitamin B8 is 400 micrograms - an amount that all women of childbearing
age should consume each day.
Like the other B vitamins,
this requirement needs to be increased during times of stress, pregnancy
In the elderly, a daily Vitamin B8
supplement of 500 mg may be required - although it should not substitute
a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. There are however, no reported
toxicity levels of high doses of Vitamin B8 intake.
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