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Vitamin B7 (Biotin) - Deficiency Risk and Symptoms

2 min read

Nutrient Name

Vitamin B7 - commonly referred to as Biotin. It is also known as Vitamin H or Vitamin B8.

Potential for deficiency


Biotin deficiency is very rare. This is believed to be because biotin is synthesised by beneficial bacteria in the human digestive tract. Groups of people at risk include patients maintained on total intravenous nutrition, dialysis patients, diabetes patients, and patients with an impaired uptake of vitamins from food due to disease. Pregnancy can rarely be associated with marginal biotin deficiency.

What does Vitamin B7 do?

Like all of the 8 B vitamins, biotin is necessary for the body to convert food into glucose, which is used to produce energy. It is also used to produce fatty acids and amino acids (the building blocks of protein)

One of biotin's primary functions is to activate protein/amino acid metabolism in the hair roots and fingernail cells - biotin is the key ingredient in all Hair, Skin and Nails supplement formulas.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirms that clear health benefits have been established for the dietary intake of Biotin (vitamin B7) in contributing to: 

  • normal macronutrient metabolism
  • normal energy yielding metabolism
  • the maintenance of normal skin and mucous membranes
  • the normal function of the nervous system
  • the maintenance of normal hair
  • normal psychological functions

Food Sources

Yeast, liver and kidney, egg yolk, soybeans, nuts and cereals. Liver contains approximately 100x more biotin per 100g than any other food.

Biotin (Vitamin B7) is a water-soluble vitamin and as such, no known toxicity has been associated with its consumption.

Symptoms of deficiency

  • Hair loss
  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Cracked lips
  • Swollen and painful tongue
  • Dry eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Depression.
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.