Medical Definition of Biotin

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Biotin: A water-soluble B-complex vitamin involved in carbon dioxide transfer and therefore essential to the metabolism of carbohydrate and fat. A balanced diet usually contains enough biotin. Foods with high biotin levels include nuts, cereals, green leafy vegetables and milk. Biotin deficiency, which is characterized by hair loss and a scaly red rash, can occur with prolonged intravenous feeding or the frequent consumption of raw egg whites which contain a biotin antagonist called avidin. Biotin supplementation is recommended during pregnancy because the biotin requirement rises during pregnancy and a substantial number of pregnant women become biotin depleted. Extra biotin is also needed during long-term anticonvulsant treatment which depletes biotin.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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