Biotin – Vitamin Necessary for Beauty &Immunity

By-Nutrition Expert:Meena Ganagani,Practicing Clinical Nutritionist,Mumbai.

Biotin is an essential nutrient that is naturally present in some foods and available as a dietary supplement

  • Immunity

The immune system protects the body against disease or other potentially damaging foreign bodies. When functioning properly, the immune system identifies and attacks a variety of threats, including viruses, bacteria and parasites, while distinguishing them from the body’s own healthy tissue.(1)

  • Micro-nutrients

Micro-nutrients often referred to as vitamins and minerals, are vital to healthy development, disease prevention, and well being. Although only required in small amounts, micro-nutrients are not produced in the body and must be derived from the diet. (2)

An adequate amount of all micro-nutrients is required for optimal immune function in adolescents and adults (and throughout life), but in higher amounts compared with infants and children. It is especially important to ensure that antioxidant levels and micro-nutrients that are components of antioxidant enzymes are sufficient to combat the oxidative stress that is induced by many lifestyle factors common in this group, and which has great impact on immune function.(3)

  • Role of Biotin

Biotin, a member of the family of water-soluble vitamins (also known as vitamin B7), is an indispensable micro nutrient for normal human health due to its essentiality for cellular metabolism, proliferation, and survival. Marginal and severe degrees of biotin deficiency lead to a variety of clinical abnormalities that include neurological disorders and dermal abnormalities. Such deficiency/sub optimal levels occur in a variety of conditions including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), inborn errors in biotin metabolism (multiple carboxylase deficiency), and chronic alcoholism among others. At the metabolic level, biotin acts as a co factor for five carboxylases that are critical for fatty acid, glucose, and amino acid metabolism. Important roles for this vitamin in cellular energy metabolism (i.e., ATP production) and in regulation of cellular oxidative stress, as well as in gene expression have also been reported recently. Emerging evidence has also been accumulating showing a role for biotin in the functions of immune cells. In reference to the latter, biotin was shown to be important for the activity of human natural killer (NK) lymphocytes, for the generation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), and for the maturation and responsiveness of immune cells. Defects in T-cell and B-cell immunity have been reported in patients with multiple carboxylase deficiency, a condition associated with biotin deficiency. An increase in the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) has also been observed in biotin deficiency. (4)

Signs and symptoms of Biotin deficiency

Signs of overt biotin deficiency include hair loss and a scaly red rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, and genital area. Neurologic symptoms in adults have included depression, lethargy hallucinations, numbness and tingling of the extremities, ataxia, and seizures. The characteristic facial rash, together with unusual facial fat distribution, has been termed the “biotin deficient facies” by some investigators. Individuals with hereditary disorders of biotin metabolism (see Inborn metabolic disorders) resulting in functional biotin deficiency often have similar physical findings, as well as seizures and evidence of impaired immune system function and increased susceptibility to bacterial and fungal infections.(5)

  • Sources of Biotin

Many foods contain some biotin. Foods that contain the most biotin include organ meats, eggs, fish, meat, seeds, nuts, and certain vegetables (such as sweet potatoes). The biotin content of food can vary; for example, plant variety and season can affect the biotin content of cereal grains, and certain processing techniques (e.g., canning) can reduce the biotin content of foods.(6)

Nutrient Requirements and Recommended Dietary Allowances for Indians (ICMR 2010)

  • Biotin (mcg/d) is 30 mcg

References:

  1. https://www.livescience.com/38028-how-the-human-body-s-immune-system-works-infographic.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/micronutrient-malnutrition/micronutrients/index.html
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6212925/
  4. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpcell.00141.2016
  5. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/biotin
  6. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/

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