Why You Cannot Ignore Vitamin B7
Vitamin B7, also known as biotin or vitamin H, is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin. It is actually a co-enzyme, which enzymes use for catalysis. So, B7 is required by the body to help enzymes speed up biological reactions.
What are the protective effects of vitamin B7?
Biotin plays an important role in many metabolic pathways, in particular sugar and fat metabolism. It also helps the body metabolize fats, proteins and carbohydrates. B7 deficiency can affect insulin production as well as the way in which insulin acts on cells.
As biotin helps build healthy fats in the skin, its depletion is associated with skin rash. When there aren't enough fats to keep the skin soft and supple, it becomes irritated and flaky. In the 40s, a study demonstrated that adding biotin-rich foods to the diet of lactating mothers could lower symptoms of cradle cap in infants. Though more research is required in this area, nursing moms can benefit from incorporating foods rich in biotin and omega-3 fatty acids.
Additionally, B7 aids the healthy growth of nails and hair. That's a reason why it is found in many health and cosmetic products for the hair and skin.
Is vitamin B7 deficiency common or rare?
The body's intestinal bacteria produce biotin in quantities exceeding our daily requirements. This makes B7 deficiency rare. Sometimes pregnant women may have low levels of B7, in which case supplementation may be advised by doctors.
Raw eggs contain a compound called avidin that binds to biotin and prevents its absorption. The problem is that avidin not only binds with the biotin in eggs but also that in foods consumed with raw eggs. Therefore, there is a possibility that people who have been consuming egg whites for many years without biotin supplementation may have a small risk of B7 deficiency.
What are the sources of vitamin B7?
The best sources of biotin are nuts, eggs and root vegetables. A single serving of each can provide over a quarter of your body's daily biotin requirement. Other sources include :
Meat (pork, salmon,liver)
Whole wheat bread
Quite a few biotin-rich foods are also good sources of fiber. If you have blood sugar problems, incorporating them in your diet may make it easier to plan your daily meals.
The recommended daily dosage of biotin for individuals aged 19 years and above, pregnant women and breast-feeding women is 30 micrograms per day. For a detailed explanation of biotin, click here.
In summary :
Vitamin B7 deficiency is rare, but should not be overlooked.
A healthy and balanced diet is adequate to get your fix of this vitamin
If you are pregnant, lactating, or have been consuming raw eggs for an extended period of time, consult your doctor on B7 supplementation