Biotin - what it is, effects, occurrence, signs of deficiency

Biotin is a vitamin belonging to the B group. It supports skin and nerve health, as well as supporting metabolism and the digestive system.

Ludwig Jelonek - AuthorAuthorLudwig Jelonek
Ludwig Jelonek - Author
AuthorLudwig Jelonek
Natu.Care Editor

Ludwik Jelonek is the author of more than 2,500 texts published on leading portals. His content has found its way into services such as Ostrovit and Kobieta Onet. At Natu.Care, Ludwik educates people in the most important area of life - health.

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Julia Skrajda - Reviewed byReviewed byJulia Skrajda
Verified by an expert
Julia Skrajda - Reviewed by
Reviewed byJulia Skrajda
Clinical nutritionist

A clinical nutritionist, she works in the profession and creates personalised menus and recommendations for disease entities.

Learn more about our editorial process

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Michael Tomaszewski - Edited byEdited byMichael Tomaszewski
Michael Tomaszewski - Edited by
Edited by
Michael Tomaszewski
Editor

Graduate of Journalism and Artes Liberales at the University of Warsaw. Since 2017, he has been working with the biggest portals in Poland and abroad as an editor. Previously worked for 3 years in one of the leading pharmaceutical companies - he knows the health and beauty industry inside out. In his free time, he most enjoys playing tennis or skiing.

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Nina Wawryszuk - Fact-checkingFact-checkingNina Wawryszuk
Nina Wawryszuk - Fact-checking
Fact-checkingNina Wawryszuk
Natu.Care Editor

Nina Wawryszuk specialises in sports supplementation, strength training and psychosomatics. On a daily basis, in addition to writing articles for Natu.Care, as a personal trainer she helps athletes improve their performance through training, diet and supplementation.

Learn more about our editorial process

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Biotin - what it is, effects, occurrence, signs of deficiency
29 April, 2024
12 min
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The popularity of biotin continues to grow and reliable information is lacking. "Biotin preparations are often targeted by patients. The demand for these products has increased during the pandemic. The most likely concern is the complications after COVID-19 - hair loss and brittle nails," admits Ilona Krzak, MSc pharmacy.

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From the article you will learn:

  • What is biotin
  • .
  • What action and properties biotin has
  • .
  • What are the effects of biotin deficiency and excess in the body
  • .
  • How to supplement biotin safely - also during pregnancy
  • .
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See also:

What is biotin?

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Biotin  is a water-soluble vitamin B. It assists enzymes in breaking down fats, carbohydrates and proteins . It helps to regulate signals sent by cells. According to an expert, biotin "affects the condition of nails, hair and epidermis. It also influences immune and inflammatory responses. Its excess is excreted in the urine."

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Biotin is involved in the maturation of red blood cells in the bone marrow. It is also responsible for the formation of heme (the component that binds oxygen and is responsible for its transport to the blood cells).
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Julia Skrajda.

Julia Skrajda nutritionist

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Properties of biotin

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Experts confirm that biotin is essential for the proper functioning of the body. What are its most valuable properties?

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"Biotin, together with vitamin K participates in the formation of prothrombin (a factor that regulates blood clotting). Therefore, biotin is responsible for normal blood clotting".
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Julia Skrajda.

Julia Skrajda nutritionist

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Promoting nail health

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Biotin-rich foods and supplements strengthen brittle and fragile nailsand. A study conducted in Switzerlandand leads us to believe that biotin supplementation has a positive effect on nail plate thickness - a 25 per cent increase in nail thickness was seen among supplementers compared to those who did not take vitamin H.  

Diabetes treatment

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Research suggests that biotin may help treat diabetesand. It regulates sugar levels in people with the condition. Furthermore, B vitamins have a positive effect on brain functionand. This makes it possible to alleviate the neurological symptoms of diabetes, such as nerve dysfunction. 

Hair improvement

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Biotin affects the overall condition of the hair. It is also helpful for those with its clinical deficiency and baldness. However, Ilona Krzak explains:

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Research says that the cause of hair loss is not necessarily biotin deficiency. What's more, if someone suffers from telogen or androgenetic alopecia or has a iron deficiency - vitamin H supplementation won't have the desired effect.
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Maintaining healthy skin

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Biotin moisturises, smoothens and improves the overall health of the skinand. It is important for energy production and is involved in the formation of fatty acids that nourish the skin. Vitamin H supports the treatment of seborrhoea  and prevents flaky skin . Its deficiency leads to skin rashes and inflammation. 

Treatment of multiple sclerosis 

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Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease . It destroys the protective coating of nerve fibres in the brain, spinal cord and eyes . Sufferers regularly supplementing with biotin can expect improvementand. However, additional research is needed to confirm these assumptions. 

As you can see, biotin supplementation is associated with many positive effects. However, its intake may be associated with dangers. What are they?

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Biotin supplementation can result in distorted laboratory results. Particular care should be taken here in asymptomatic patients whose results indicate Graves-Basedov disease. Biotin can also falsify the results of troponin tests in people with myocardial infarction - giving negative results. This is extremely dangerous!
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Ilona Krzak.

Ilona KrzakMaster of Pharmacy

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Biotin is responsible for the proper functioning of the immune system. It activates phagocytosis, i.e. fights viruses, bacteria and also neutralises free radicals.
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Julia Skrajda.

Julia Skrajda nutritionist

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Glow Stories - for healthy skin, hair and nails .

Glow Stories - for skin, hair and nail health

.

Product with high-quality folic acid Quatrefolic®, bamboo shoot extract and ingredients that have a positive effect on skin, hair and nails.

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In which products is biotin found?

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Biotin is found in many foodsand. Most can be found in:

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  • offal,
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  • eggs,
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  • fish,
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  • meat,
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  • seeds,
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  • nuts
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  • and some vegetables, such as sweet potatoand.
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The content of biotin in individual items can vary. It is affected by plant variety, season or processing technique. 

Biotin content of products - table

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Product 

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Content biotin in 100 grams

Beef liver

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35 mcg

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Roasted peanuts

20 mcg

Egg

20 mcg

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Roasted sunflower seeds

13 mcg

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Pink salmon

6 mcg

Pork chop

4.5 mcg

Sweet potatoes

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2 mcg

Mushrooms

2 mcg

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"Plant-based foods rich in biotin are primarily soybeans, cauliflower, carrots, spinach and tomatoes."
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Julia Skrajda.

Julia Skrajda nutritionist

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Biotin deficiency

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"Biotin deficiency is rare. Vitamin H is widely distributed in foods, so it is easy to supply with diet," admits Ilona Krzak, MSc, pharmacist. Despite this, there are groups of people who are particularly vulnerable to its deficiency.

Who is at risk?

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Biotin deficiency is often seen in people with short bowel syndrome and malabsorptionand. People taking antibiotics or receiving parenteral nutrition can also experience it. There is also a small group of people struggling with congenital biotinidase deficiency . The disease is manifested by a defect in biotin metabolism. 

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"Biotin deficiency is at risk in people with inflammatory conditions. Its lack leads to their exacerbation. The result is poorer hair and nails. People with monothematic diets and eating disorders may also suffer from vitamin B7 deficiency." 
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Ilona Krzak.

Ilona KrzakMaster of Pharmacy

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The absorption of biotin from food is impaired by an antinutritional substance called avidin. It is a component of egg white. Avidin prevents the absorption of biotin, but it is susceptible to destruction at high temperatures.
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Therefore, it is most often sufficient not to eat undercooked or raw eggs to supply the body with adequate doses of biotin from the diet.
Julia Skrajda.

Julia Skrajda nutritionist

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What does it lead to?

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Your body is always letting you know when it needs something. The same happens with biotin deficiency. What symptoms will occur when you are deficient in it?

Symptoms of biotin deficiencyand:

  • hair loss,
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  • dermatitis,
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  • rash,
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  • hearing and vision problems,
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  • insomnia,
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  • loss of appetite,
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  • nausea,
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  • depression,
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Biotin excess

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An excess of biotin in the body is a very rare occurrenceand. Vitamin H is soluble in water. Therefore, its excess is excreted through the urineand. If an excess of biotin occurs, you will experience:

  • insomnia,
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  • excessive urination,
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  • increased thirst,
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overdose - what does the expert say?

Magister of Pharmacy, Ilona Krzak, reassures:

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In pharmacies, you can get products containing up to 10 mg of biotin. The characteristics of one of them state that taking 300 mg of this vitamin daily for 24 months did not cause poisoning. Therefore, an overdose of vitamin B7 only occurs in extreme cases.
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Biotin supplementation

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Biotin is crucial for health. Although it is found in many foods, its supplementation also has the expected effects.

How long to take to see the effects

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You would certainly like to see the effects of biotin soon after starting supplementation. However, you will only experience them after approximately 3 monthsand. Remember that this time depends on the specific supplement. The amount of biotin taken is also important and should be in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations. 

What is the daily requirement for biotin?

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Age

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Daily requirements 

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0-6 months

5 micrograms

7-12 months

6 microgrammes

1-3 years

8 micrograms

4-8 years

12 micrograms

9-13 years

20 microgrammes

14-18 years

25 micrograms

19+ years

30 micrograms

What time of day to take?

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Biotin, like other B vitamins plays a key role in nutrient metabolism and energy production. This is why vitamin H is worth taking with your morning meal. This makes it possible to improve its absorption. However, if you do not have this option - take it at any time of the day.

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Contraindications to biotin supplementation 

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Biotin is a safe and non-toxic substanceand. As you already know, our body excretes excess of it with urine. According to a specialist, "there are no contraindications to its supplementation. Even patients with kidney or liver failure can take it". Vitamin H also does not react with herbs. 

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Biotin is worth supplementing if you have an eating disorder or an incomplete diet. It is essential for the proper functioning of organs, metabolism and overall development. Therefore, we need to take care of its proper levels. Furthermore, studies show that supplementation with vitamin B7 is helpful in the treatment of skin inflammation.
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Ilona Krzak.

Ilona KrzakMaster of Pharmacy

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Does biotin affect pregnancy? 

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Research indicates that pregnant women may be deficient in biotinand. In the words of an expert, "it is dangerous for the foetus. It leads to growth retardation, birth defects and even miscarriage". Despite this, vitamin H supplementation during pregnancy is rarely necessary. Remember that only a specialist can recommend it.

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Can breastfeeding women supplement biotin?

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According to the pharmacist, "biotin supplementation during breastfeeding in doses up to 2.5 mg/day is safe"and. However, the recommended dosage of vitamin H during breastfeeding is much lower. It is 35 micrograms per dayand.

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Biotin deficiencies are quite often found during pregnancy and lactation. Therefore, it is advisable to follow a balanced diet rich in this vitamin instead of taking dietary supplements.
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Julia Skrajda.

Julia Skrajda nutritionist

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Biotin-drug interactions

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There is no evidence that biotin interacts with drugsand. Some of these may reduce its levels. According to the expert, these include "anticonvulsants and steroid hormones"In addition, the antibiotics mentioned also affect levels of vitamin Hand. If you are taking any of these medications - check with your doctor before starting supplementation.

See also:

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Summary

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Biotin is an increasingly popular vitamin, so remember:

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  • Biotin assists enzymes in breaking down fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
  • Biotin is a vitamin that is increasingly popular.
  • Influences the health of the skin, hair and nails.
  • Biotin is also a good vitamin for the health of the skin.
  • Biotin can be found in fish, meat, offal, seeds, eggs, nuts and some vegetables.
  • .
  • Biotin deficiency is rare - most of us take biotin with our diet.
  • .
  • Excess biotin is excreted in the urine.
  • There is no contraindication to biotin deficiency.
  • There are no contraindications to biotin use.
  • .
  • Biotin has a key effect on the normal development of pregnancy.
  • Biotin is not contraindicated.
  • Anticonvulsant drugs, antibiotics and steroid hormones may reduce blood levels of biotin.
  • Biotin is also important in the development of pregnancy.
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FAQ

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. Is it worth taking biotin?.

Biotin supplementation can help to strengthen and improve the condition of hair, skin and nails. In addition, it affects the immune system and, along with vitamin K, regulates blood clotting. It can help treat diabetes and even multiple sclerosis.

See also: Biotin for hair - sources, effects + product ranking

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. Is biotin collagen?.

No, biotin and collagen are two different ingredients. Biotin is a B vitamin that plays an important role in skin, hair and nail health and energy metabolism.

On the other hand, collagen is a structural protein that is an essential component of connective tissue in our body. Collagen plays an important role in the structure of skin, bones, tendons and ligaments and, like biotin, is beneficial for the condition of hair and nails. Collagen deficiency can be evident as early as 25 years of age.

See also: Hair collagen - effects and how to use?

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. What leaches biotin?.

There is no specific substance that directly flushes biotin out of the body. However, there are factors that can reduce biotin levels in the body, such as excess alcohol, smoking, the use of certain medications (e.g. antibiotics, antidepressants) and chronic intestinal diseases. An uncommon reason may be... excessive consumption of raw egg white. Take care of a balanced diet, limit stimulants, and temporarily support yourself by supplementing with biotin.

. How long should biotin be used?.

The duration of biotin supplementation depends on individual needs and the degree of deficiency. It is recommended that it lasts for at least a few months in order to achieve positive effects on the condition of the skin, hair and nails.

After this period, it is advisable to stop supplementation for a few weeks and start again to avoid developing a possible tolerance of the body to biotin. In the meantime, it is worth doing blood tests to check the concentration of biotin in the body.

. Does biotin affect TSH and other thyroid tests?.

Yes. Taking at least 20 mg of biotin daily can seriously interfere with the results of thyroid tests. If you are scheduled for such a test, discontinue supplementation at least 48 hours before.

. Are biotin and vitamin H and B7 the same compounds?.

Yes, biotin, vitamin B7 and vitamin H are names that can be used interchangeably. They refer to the same compound.

. Should biotin supplementation be discontinued for the duration of laser hair removal?.

Yes, you should not supplement with vitamin H before, during and a few weeks after laser hair removal. Biotin has a positive effect on hair growth, which in the case of such a procedure is a potential disadvantage for obvious reasons.

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Resources

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. See all.

Ablon, G. (2015). A 3-Month, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study Evaluating the Ability of an Extra-Strength Marine Protein Supplement to Promote Hair Growth and Decrease Shedding in Women with Self-Perceived Thinning Hair. Dermatology Research and Practice, 2015, e841570. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/841570

APILAM. (n.d.). Biotin, vitamin B7, vitamin H: Nivel de riesgo para la lactancia según e-lactancia.org. e-lactancia.org. Retrieved 17 March 2023, from http://www.e-lactancia.org/breastfeeding/biotin-vitamin-b7-vitamin-h/product/

Biotin Deficiency-An overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.). Retrieved 17 March 2023, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/biotin-deficiency

Bistas, K. G., & Tadi, P. (2022). Biotin. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554493/

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Brownlee, W. J., Hardy, T. A., Fazekas, F., & Miller, D. H. (2017). Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis: Progress and challenges. The Lancet, 389(10076), 1336-1346. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30959-X

Dobson, R., & Giovannoni, G. (2019). Multiple sclerosis - a review. European Journal of Neurology, 26(1), 27-40. https://doi.org/10.1111/ene.13819

Hemmati, M., Babaei, H., & Abdolsalehei, M. (2013). Survey of the Effect of Biotin on Glycemic Control and Plasma Lipid Concentrations in Type 1 Diabetic Patients in Kermanshah, Iran (2008-2009). Oman Medical Journal, 28(3), 195-198. https://doi.org/10.5001/omj.2013.53

Office of Dietary Supplements-Biotin. (n.d.). Retrieved 17 March 2023, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/

Reddi, A., DeAngelis, B., Frank, O., Lasker, N., & Baker, H. (1988). Biotin supplementation improves glucose and insulin tolerances in genetically diabetic KK mice. Life Sciences, 42(13), 1323-1330. https://doi.org/10.1016/0024-3205(88)90226-3

Saleem, F., & Soos, M. P. (2022). Biotin Deficiency. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547751/

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Şen, O., & Türkçapar, A. G. (2021). Hair Loss After Sleeve Gastrectomy and Effect of Biotin Supplements. Journal of Laparoendoscopic & Advanced Surgical Techniques. Part A, 31(3), 296-300. https://doi.org/10.1089/lap.2020.0468

Wolf, B. (1993). Biotinidase Deficiency. IN M. P. Adam, G. M. Mirzaa, R. A. Pagon, S. E. Wallace, L. J. Bean, K. W. Gripp, & A. Amemiya (Ed.), GeneReviews®. University of Washington, Seattle. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1322/

Zempleni, J., Wijeratne, S. S. K., & Hassan, Y. I. (2009). Biotin. BioFactors, 35(1), 36-46. https://doi.org/10.1002/biof.8

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Meet the team
Ludwig Jelonek - Author

Natu.Care Editor

Ludwik Jelonek is the author of more than 2,500 texts published on leading portals. His content has found its way into services such as Ostrovit and Kobieta Onet. At Natu.Care, Ludwik educates people in the most important area of life - health.

Julia Skrajda - Reviewed by

Clinical nutritionist

Verified by an expert

A clinical nutritionist, she works in the profession and creates personalised menus and recommendations for disease entities.

Michael Tomaszewski - Edited by

Editor

Michael Tomaszewski

Graduate of Journalism and Artes Liberales at the University of Warsaw. Since 2017, he has been working with the biggest portals in Poland and abroad as an editor. Previously worked for 3 years in one of the leading pharmaceutical companies - he knows the health and beauty industry inside out. In his free time, he most enjoys playing tennis or skiing.

Nina Wawryszuk - Fact-checking

Natu.Care Editor

Nina Wawryszuk specialises in sports supplementation, strength training and psychosomatics. On a daily basis, in addition to writing articles for Natu.Care, as a personal trainer she helps athletes improve their performance through training, diet and supplementation.

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