Biotin

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Biotin is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin (vitamin B7) that is composed of a ureido (tetrahydroimidizalone) ring fused with a tetrahydrothiophene ring. A valeric acid substituent is attached to one of the carbon atoms of the tetrahydrothiophene ring. Biotin is a coenzyme in the metabolism of fatty acids and leucine, and it plays a role in gluconeogenesis.

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General overview

Biotin is necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids. It plays a role in the citric acid cycle, which is the process by which biochemical energy is generated during aerobic respiration. Biotin not only assists in various metabolic reactions but also helps to transfer carbon dioxide. Biotin may also be helpful in maintaining a steady blood sugar level.[2] Biotin is often recommended for strengthening hair and nails. Consequently, it is found in many cosmetics and health products for the hair and skin, though it cannot be absorbed through the hair or skin itself.

Biotin deficiency is rare, because intestinal bacteria generally produce biotin in excess of the body's daily requirements. For that reason, statutory agencies in many countries, for example the USA[3] and Australia,[4] do not prescribe a recommended daily intake of biotin. However, a number of metabolic disorders exist in which an individual's metabolism of biotin is abnormal; in these disorders, megadoses of biotin, far higher than the average daily intake from food, can generally mitigate symptoms and correct the underlying metabolic disturbance.

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