Biotin deficiency can lead to hair loss, brittle nails, skin inflammation, heart irregularities, and anemia in a person. The following article provides some information on the symptoms to identify this deficiency, along with the causes and treatment.
Biotin, a water-soluble vitamin, belongs to the group of B vitamins. It is very essential for the body as it aids in the production of energy, and plays a vital role in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Another function of the vitamin is to manufacture fats in the body, and also to excrete protein by-products. Biotin deficiency syndrome, a very rare kind of disease, can produce a number of side effects and diseases in a person.
To understand what causes this rare disorder, it is very important to know the sources of the vitamin and what happens when it enters the body.
The body gets its requirement of the vitamin fulfilled through the diet that an individual undertakes. Some of the foods which are considered as an excellent source of the vitamin are grapefruit, liver, strawberries, brewer’s yeast, bananas, watermelon, milk, and peanuts. As far as the absorption of the vitamin by the body is concerned, it is the upper section of the small intestine which usually does it, although some of it might also be absorbed by the lower small intestine.
The deficiency can occur on two accounts. Firstly, the person might be on some medication or drug which is depleting the vitamin in the body. Some medicines which can cause the deficiency are sedatives, anti-epileptic drugs such as carbamazepine, primidone, phenytoin, and antibiotics such as penicillin, cephalosporins, macrolides, etc. Another cause could be that the person is affected by a health condition such as diabetes, which can cause a deficiency of biotin-dependent enzymes in the body, leading to its deficiency.
- Skin inflammation
- Stress and depression
- Pain in the muscles
- The deficiency produces abnormal skin sensations such as tingling, burning, numbness, or prickling in the feet and the hands.
- Due to this, a person may experience hair loss or thinning of hair.
- It might make the skin dry and scaly. There might be sores in and around the mouth and nose.
- This deficiency may induce loss of appetite in a person or it can give a person the feeling of nausea.
- It could cause heart irregularities in some people.
- Besides these symptoms, some diseases which a person may get affected by are dermatitis, anemia, psoriasis, eczema, and seborrhea.
The RDA, that is, the recommended daily allowance of the vitamin is approximately 0.3 mg per day. If the vitamin B foods in the diet do not fulfill this requirement, then the deficiency can be treated by taking certain biotin supplements. Certain medical research studies suggest that pregnant women should take prenatal vitamins which contain biotin to avoid birth defects. Since the vitamin, even when taken in excess, does not produce any side effects, it is completely safe to take the supplements along with one’s regular diet. Also, excess amounts of the vitamin are automatically eliminated from the kidney, so taking the supplements is completely safe.
Due to the various side effects and diseases that the deficiency can cause in a person, it is very important that the deficiency is diagnosed and treated at the earliest. This can be achieved by including foods rich in this vitamin in one’s diet, or taking certain vitamin supplements as per the dosage prescribed by the doctor. This would ensure that these symptoms and diseases are prevented, and the individual can lead a normal and healthy life.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.