Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten
australiaphen375.com

The Mystery B Vitamin

Everyone knows about vitamin B and most understand that it's a complex of different vitamins like B1, B6, B12, but few people understand the importance of one member of this group called biotin, sometimes known as vitamin H. This vital nutrient is what's known as a coenzyme without which many of the body's essential processes would not be possible. It plays a key role, along with the other B vitamins, in the breakdown of fats, proteins and carbohydrates in food which converts them into usable energy. It's also important in the creation of essential fatty acids which are required for many bodily functions but especially for the protection of nerves and skin as well as the growth of healthy hair.

It's generally believed that because biotin is so widespread in many common foods that deficiencies of this vitamin are rare. The orthodox view is that it normally only occurs in patients being artificially fed by infusion or in people consuming large numbers of raw eggs. The artificial feeds don't contain it and raw egg white contains a substance called avidin which prevents the body absorbing biotin.

Unfortunately the average amount supplied by food is 39 micrograms for men and 26 for women, and although this is enough to prevent severe deficiency symptoms, optimum levels are only achieved through that's manufactured by bacteria living in the gut, and this can be up to five times the amount supplied by the diet. It's this 'home-made' biotin which is easily lost when gut bacteria are destroyed by antibiotics and sulphonamides. whether they're prescribed or present in other foods like meat, poultry and dairy products. These friendly bugs are also severely damaged by alcohol and both these factors result in much lower blood levels of biotin than required. There's also evidence that smoking reduces the absorption of biotin.

There's no biotin in breast milk although it does contain the essentials needed to establish a healthy colony of gut bacteria. Babies who suffer severe diarrhoea may quickly become deficient in this vitamin and develop extremely dry scaly skin on the face and scalp. In adults deficiency causes hair loss, exhaustion, depression, skin problems, anaemia, muscle pains and loss of appetite. For peak nutritional health adults need around 150 micrograms per day which is not hard to get from food but more than half of which will easily be manufactured by the good bacteria. As well as the reasons already mentioned for poor absorption, anyone on a very restricted diet for medical or weight loss reasons, strict vegans or careless vegetarians may need a supplement. 100 micrograms a day should be sufficient for most people's needs, but if you're over 50 then take 150 micrograms daily.

BEST SOURCES

CHICKEN LIVERS
170 mcg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 113% from average 100 g portion
Biotin score: 10/10

FRESH PLAIN PEANUTS
72 mcg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 24% from average 50 g portion
Biotin score: 2/10

PEANUT BUTTER
94 mcg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 13% from average 20 g portion
Biotin score: 1/10

MIXED NUTS
86 mcg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 29% from average 50 g portion
Biotin score: 3/10

BOILED EGGS
50 mcg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 40% from two eggs
Biotin score: 4/10

SESAME SEEDS
12 mcg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 2% from average 25 g portion
Biotin score: 1/10

ALMONDS
64 mcg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 23% from average 50 g portion
Biotin score: 2/10

KIDNEY
53 mcg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 35% from average 100 g portion
Biotin score: 3/10

 

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