Vitamin B7, also known as biotin and vitamin H, belongs to the B complex of vitamins. It is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in the metabolism of fatty acids, glucose and amino acids.
Biotin has many notable health benefits, which range from boosting the immune system to promoting energy production and supporting foetal development. Here are 9 key health benefits of vitamin B7.
If you’re interested in the recommended daily intake for this vitamin, keep reading — here we’ll cover everything you need to know about the vitamin B7 RDA.
How Much Vitamin B7 Should You Take Daily?
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, so it isn’t stored in the body. This means that you need to consume it daily to replenish the levels in your body. Any excess biotin is excreted through urine, so there is no risk of toxicity in case of an overdose.
The Nutrient Reference Value (NRV, previously known as Recommended Daily Allowance or RDA) for vitamin B7 varies based on age, gender and reproductive status.
For adults aged 19+ years old, the vitamin B7 RDA/NRV is 30mcg per day.
In addition to addressing deficiency issues, vitamin B7 can support various bodily functions and address a range of health conditions as well. However, further research is needed to determine the recommended intake.
- For pregnant women, the vitamin B7 RDA is 30mcg per day
- For lactating women, the vitamin B7 RDA is 35mcg per day
In case of biotin deficiency, up to 10mg every day is recommended.
For children, the vitamin B7 RDA is as follows:
- Infants up to 6 months old: 5mcg per day
- Infants 7-12 months old: 6mcg per day
- Children 1-3 years old: 8mcg per day
- Children 4-8 years old: 12mcg per day
- Children 9-13 years old: 20mcg per day
- Teenagers 14-18 years old: 25mcg per day for both males and females
Vitamin B7 Deficiency
Vitamin B7 deficiency is of two types: primary and secondary. Primary deficiency is the result of inadequate dietary intake of vitamin B7. On the other hand, secondary deficiency is generally caused by health conditions that impact how the body absorbs nutrients. Similarly, people who are on certain medications might be at risk of developing vitamin B7 deficiency.
The most common type of biotin deficiency is biotinidase deficiency (BTD). BTD is a condition whereby the body isn’t able to use the biotin it absorbs, which in turn leads to biotin deficiency. Biotinidase deficiency is the result of a mutation in the BTD gene, which tells the body how to make the enzyme biotinidase. Without it, the body can’t extract biotin from food.
Approximately 1 in 60,000 newborn babies has biotinidase deficiency. Usually, symptoms of the condition are visible within the first few weeks or months of life. These symptoms include:
- Weak muscles and/or hypotonia
- Developmental delay
- Hair loss
BTD needs to be addressed early on, otherwise it can lead to a coma.
Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
If you’re biotin deficient, you’ll likely experience symptoms such as:
- Dry eyes
- Hair loss
- Dry skin (which might include unsightly scaly patches)
- Brittle hair
- Red skin rashes (especially on the face)
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Muscle pain
- Difficulty walking
- Burning or prickling sensation in the hands and feet
- Cracking in the corners of the mouth
Overdose and Toxicity
Vitamin B7 is generally considered safe. There is no daily Upper Intake Level for biotin, which is the highest intake amount that isn’t likely to cause adverse effects. Doses of up to 5mg per day for two years weren’t associated with side effects or other complications.
Oral biotin supplementation in doses of up to 200mg/day, which is close to 7,000 times the RDA, have been well tolerated in people with hereditary biotin metabolism disorders. Moreover, daily supplementation with doses between 100 and 600mg for several months was also well tolerated in those with progressive multiple sclerosis.
Generally, you’ll be able to meet your vitamin B7 RDA/NRV from your diet. Check out this list of 14 vitamin B7 food sources if you’re looking to increase your intake.
If you suffer from biotin deficiency, then simply eating vitamin B7-rich foods might not be sufficient. In this case, you might want to consider a biotin food supplement to address the deficiency.
Please keep in mind that taking a biotin supplement might lead to an imbalance of B-complex vitamins. To avoid this, taking a multivitamin or B-complex vitamin supplement instead is recommended.