Biotin is loosely categorized as a B vitamin. It is needed by the body for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Biotin deficiency is rare because it is found in many foods and is made by microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract.
Good food sources of biotin include oatmeal, bananas, liver, sunflower seeds, soybeans, eggs, butter, nuts, split peas, and mushrooms.
Biotin is a water-soluble nutrient that assists the body as a coenzyme, enabling many vital chemical processes. It is involved in the breakdown of fat, carbohydrate, and protein to produce energy. It is also helpful in maintaining healthy sweat glands, hair, bone marrow, and nerve tissue. Biotin helps the body produce digestive enzymes, and antibodies. It aids in the utilization of other B-complex vitamins such as folic acid, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B-12. It is also a catalyst in the chemical reaction called carbon dioxide fixation. This process assists in the movement and utilization of carbon dioxide throughout the body, particularly during the processing of carbohydrates and fats.
The RDI for biotin is 300 mcg for adults. It is included in most B-complex and multivitamin supplements. Intake through diet and regular gastrointestinal production makes biotin deficiency rare. Because excess biotin is excreted through urination, it is considered a non-toxic substance.