A water-soluble, enzyme co-factor present in minute amounts in every living cell. It occurs mainly bound to proteins or polypeptides and is abundant in liver, kidney, pancreas, yeast, and milk. [PubChem]
For nutritional supplementation, also for treating dietary shortage or imbalance.
Biotin is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin which is composed of an ureido ring fused with a tetrahydrothiophene ring. A valeric acid substituent is attached to one of the carbon atoms of the tetrahydrothiophene ring. Biotin is used in cell growth, the production of fatty acids, metabolism of fats, and amino acids. It plays a role in the Kreb cycle, which is the process in which energy is released from food. Biotin not only assists in various metabolic chemical conversions, but also helps with the transfer of carbon dioxide. Biotin is also helpful in maintaining a steady blood sugar level. Biotin is often recommended for strengthening hair and nails. Consequenty, it is found in many cosmetic and health products for the hair and skin. Biotin deficiency is a rare nutritional disorder caused by a deficiency of biotin. Initial symptoms of biotin deficiency include: Dry skin, Seborrheic dermatitis, Fungal infections, rashes including erythematous periorofacial macular rash, fine and brittle hair, and hair loss or total alopecia. If left untreated, neurological symptoms can develop, including mild depression, which may progress to profound lassitude and, eventually, to somnolence; changes in mental status, generalized muscular pains (myalgias), hyperesthesias and paresthesias. The treatment for biotin deficiency is to simply start taking some biotin supplements. A lack of biotin in infants will lead to a condition called seborrheic dermatitis or "cradle cap". Biotin deficiencies are extremely rare in adults but if it does occur, it will lead to anemia, depression, hair loss, high blood sugar levels, muscle pain, nausea, loss of appetite and inflamed mucous membranes.
Mechanism of action
Biotin is necessary for the proper functioning of enzymes that transport carboxyl units and fix carbon dioxide, and is required for various metabolic functions, including gluconeogenesis, lipogenesis, fatty acid biosynthesis, propionate metabolism, and catabolism of branched-chain amino acids.