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Vitamin B8 Benefits, Deficiency and Sources   
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 supplements.

Other causes of a biotin deficiency -

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 failures.

v Malnutrition.

v Chronic anti-epilepsy treatment whereby biotin absorption is reduced due to intake of antiepileptic drugs.

v Chronic alcoholism

v Digestive tract diseases in elderly persons.

Biotin is not toxic, even at large dosages.

Good dietary sources of Vitamin B8 -

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

· Legumes

· Cauliflower

· Nuts

· Whole brown rice

· Whole cereals

· Fruits

· Milk

· Yoghurt

· 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 and lactation.

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.

About the Author

Read more on Vitamin b8 benefits, deficiency and sources. Visit http://www.healthvitaminsguide.com for Information on Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids


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