Vitamin B7 - The Many Benefits of Vitamin B7 (Biotin) for Children
Posted on June 04 2021,
Biotin belongs to the family of B-complex vitamins, commonly known as vitamin H or vitamin B7. Biotin is derived from the Greek word ‘biotos’, which means sustenance or life, and was discovered by Vincent du Vigneaud in 1942. Biotin is an essential nutrient naturally found in food, added in eatables, and available as supplements. This vitamin is an important part of five major substances, which catalyze crucial steps in the metabolism of glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids. Most biotin found in foods is bound to protein, although some biotin is in free form. Bacteria found in the human intestine can also produce biotin. (1)
What is vitamin B7 good for? Your children need biotin to convert food into energy. Vitamin B7 promotes the proper development and growth of your child’s body. Research has indicated that this vitamin is crucial for maintaining hair, nail, and skin health in the human body. It also helps in managing normal glucose levels. A lack of biotin can cause several health problems in adults and children, such as hair loss, brittle nails, and skin issues. Many foods contain biotin in small amounts, and it is typically easy to obtain an adequate amount of biotin through natural foods; however, certain conditions and poor diet can necessitate the use of supplements to meet this essential nutritional need. (2)
How Does Biotin Function in Your Child’s Body?
Like other B vitamins, biotin is water-soluble, which means it does not store in the human body. Therefore, we need to keep replacing it by eating foods rich in biotin or taking a supplement. Biotin performs several vital functions in your child’s body. It helps convert fats, protein, and carbohydrates from the food your kid eats into energy. Vitamin B7 is often recommended for nail and hair strengthening, and it is found in several beauty and grooming products.
Biotin binds to proteins in natural food. When your child consumes natural foods with biotin, their body goes through a process to break it down into usable components. Our bodies can't access the biotin when it is attached to protein. The stomach uses its digestive enzymes, with help from peptidases and proteases, to convert protein-bound biotin to free-biotin. After enzymes in the stomach process the biotin further, it is absorbed by your child’s intestine and most is stored in the liver. Research says that almost 50% of ingested biotin is excreted in urine. (2)
Why Do Children Need Biotin?
Biotin provides many health benefits to your child. Several studies have revealed that vitamin B7, or biotin, is as essential for kids as for adults. Your kid needs an adequate amount of this vitamin for proper growth and development. Biotin not only provides physical but mental benefits as well.
Here are some essential health benefits biotin will give your child:
- Promotes hair thickening
- Maintains nail health
- Important for skin health
- Crucial for proper fetal growth and development
- Enhances mood and energy
- Helps in weight management
Promotes hair thickening: One of the major roles of biotin is hair health. Many people use biotin to grow hair, and finding biotin in hair products is common in the United States. Will biotin help thinning hair? Studies have shown that biotin is also effective in improving hair thickness and making hair look more lustrous. If your child has a healthy digestive system, they can typically absorb the required amount of biotin through their everyday diet. Kids with any type of digestive disease cannot utilize this vitamin from food, so they must take supplements to meet the recommended daily requirements. (3)
Maintains nail health: Biotin is an important aide for strengthening nails, and higher doses of biotin is the ticket to good nail health. Experts say a high intake of biotin can cause a 25% thickening of nails and reduce nail breakage and splitting in kids. (4)
Skin health: Vitamin B7 is vital for skin nourishment. Kids who lack biotin have dry, itchy, and scaly skin. Severe deficiency can lead to acne or psoriasis, a skin disorder in which skin cells multiply ten times faster and make the skin red with white patches. It may appear at the elbow, lower back, scalp, or knees. Research has revealed that biotin regulates fat metabolism, which influences skin health. So, children with low levels of biotin have compromised fat metabolism, which ultimately affects their skin appearance. Biotin also plays a part in the rebuilding of tissues after a breakdown and recovery of muscle damage. It is also an essential nutrient in reducing inflammation and relieving joint pain. In the case of severe deficiency, supplements are recommended since your child’s body cannot absorb this vitamin through hair cells or skin. (5)
Crucial for proper fetal growth and development: Biotin performs several functions in the body during pregnancy that are necessary for proper fetal growth development. Recent studies have shown that pregnant women who do not take the recommended daily amount of biotin are at risk for congenital abnormalities. Increasing biotin during pregnancy is as vital as folic acid to reduce complications.
In most cases, a deficient mother does not provide an appropriate amount of biotin to infants through breastfeeding, leaving infants in need of obtaining biotin through supplementation. Children suffering from allergies or distaste for biotin are at higher risk of developing biotin deficiency. Supplements are given to mothers, infants, and children to prevent deficiency and accompanying side effects. (6)
Enhances mood and energy: Biotin breaks down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into usable energy by acting as a coenzyme when mixing amino acids and fatty acids. If your child is lacking in B vitamins, including B7, their body will not produce maximum energy because they won’t get the essential support of biotin when digesting nutrients from their food. Therefore, lack of biotin induces fatigue, weakness, mood swings, and digestive problems in children. (7)
Helps in weight management: Biotin is also helpful in weight management because it plays a role in the breakdown of macronutrients, which are the nutrients our body uses the most for energy. A high biotin level increases the rate of resting energy metabolism. Having a high resting metabolic rate can help with weight reduction, but keep in mind that biotin is not used as weight loss pills. It just helps the body manage weight, and one might lose weight more easily with sufficient biotin intake in combination with physical activity and a balanced diet full of healthy, whole foods. (7)
Other notable benefits of biotin:
- Biotin is not only crucial for the health of your child's nails, skin, and hair, but it also supports their glands. This vitamin is required for proper activity of the thyroid gland, associated with regulating hunger and sleep.
- Biotin also maintains the cholesterol level in the human body by increasing the level of high-density lipoprotein HDL (commonly known as ‘good cholesterol’) and reducing the low-density lipoprotein LDL (‘bad cholesterol’). Due to this property, biotin prevents the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart diseases and cancer at later ages.
- Does biotin lower blood sugar? Research has indicated that biotin helps in the regulation of blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion in the human body. So, this vitamin reduces the risk of diabetes by controlling sugar levels in adults.
- Vitamin B7 maintains brain health, promotes the activity of neurotransmitters, and enhances nerve signals. It improves memory, protects the brain, and provides defense against neurodegenerative and cognitive problems. (2)
What Is a Biotin Deficiency?
Vitamin B7 deficiency is rare in children who consume a balanced diet. However, those who do not eat biotin rich foods in their diet are often lacking this vitamin. Deficiency can also be caused by a mutation in genes that produce an enzyme that regulates biotin absorption in the body.
Most people might not be able to recognize when their child lacks biotin. The common biotin deficiency signs in children are:
- Increase in infections
- Paresthesia and hyperesthesia
Dermatitis: Skin issues are common with biotin deficiency in kids. One common skin problem found in kids lacking biotin is seborrheic dermatitis, a skin disease that causes an itchy scalp and leads to balding. Kids with this problem also experience hair loss and muscle pain. Symptoms, including brittle nails, thinning of hair, and red-scaly skin are common in biotin deficiency. Thus, proper biotin supplementation in kids can reduce muscle cramps and prevent itchy dry skin. (8)
Increase in infections: Biotin deficiency affects the immune functions of children. One study has indicated that biotin deficiency reduces the immune functions and the activity of immune cells, such as B and T cells. The lack of biotin in cells decreases the cell count and increases the risk of infections in children. (2)
Paresthesia and hyperesthesia: Studies have found that infants who lack biotin can suffer from hyperesthesia. Hyperesthesia causes an abnormal increase in the stimulation of sense organs. Paresthesia, on the other hand, is a condition in which a child feels tingling, numbness, or prickling in the skin. Both of these can be avoided by ensuring that your child gets enough biotin in their diet. (6)
How Much Biotin per Day Does Your Kid Need?
Dosing recommendations for biotin are given in the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI), developed by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB). DRI is the optimal amount of nutrients that a person needs per day, and it includes the biotin recommended daily dose. (9)
Biotin deficiency is rare in the United States, so The Food and Drug Administration does not define a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for biotin. So, now you're asking as a parent (because you know all the benefits), "how much vitamin B7 should I take daily?" The average vitamin B7 daily dose for Adequate Intake (AI) for both male and female children and adults are recommended as the following: (2)
|Age||Recommended daily amount in micrograms (mcg)|
|0-6 months||5 mcg|
|7-12 months||6 mcg|
|1-3 years||8 mcg|
|4-8 years||12 mcg|
|9-13 years||20 mcg*|
|14-18 years||25 mcg*|
|19+ years||30 mcg*|
*The recommended amount for adequate intake (AI) may vary for people who are pregnant and lactating, and you should consult with your physician to determine an appropriate amount for your specific health needs
Should You Give Biotin Supplements to Your Kid?
What is the best source of vitamin B7? It is preferred that you use dietary sources for biotin to fulfill your child’s daily requirement. Health experts recommend biotin supplements in case of severe deficiency. However, biotin is a common ingredient in beauty products, such as hair products and moisturizers, because of its many benefits to the hair, skin and nails. If you are looking to reap the maximum benefits of vitamin B7 in your family, you might keep an eye out for biotin in the ingredients list of your child’s grooming products. Consult with your child's doctor to find out more about the benefits of B7 for your family and for a recommendation for the best vitamin B7 supplement for your kids. (2)
What Foods Are High in Vitamin B7?
Many foods contain biotin in small amounts. Foods that are rich in biotin include seeds, organ meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and some vegetables. Biotin levels in foods can vary due to several factors. Season and plant varieties can affect the biotin content of some cereals. Processing techniques, such as canning, can also reduce the biotin content in foods. Additionally, raw egg contains a protein known as dietary avidin, which binds to biotin and prevents its absorption in the body. Cooking separates biotin from the avidin, helping the digestive tract to absorb this vitamin. These considerations are important to understand when preparing foods in order to obtain maximum nutritional uptake through dietary sources. (10)
Below are several foods that contain a healthy amount of biotin. (9)
|Food Name||Serving size||Milligrams (mg) per serving|
|Beef liver, cooked||3 oz||30.8|
|Egg, cooked||1 whole egg||10|
|Canned pink salmon||3 oz||5|
|Pork chop, cooked||3 oz||3.8|
|Hamburger patty, cooked||3 oz||3.8|
|Sunflower seeds, roasted||1/4 cup||2.6|
|Sweet potato, cooked||1 cup||2.4|
|Roasted almonds||1/4 cup||1.5|
|Canned tuna||3 oz||0.6|
|Spinach, boiled||1/2 cup||0.5|
|Cheddar cheese||1 oz||0.4|
|Low-fat milk||1 cup||0.3|
|Plain yogurt||1 cup||0.2|
|Oatmeal, cooked||1 cup||0.2|
|Banana, sliced||1/2 cup||0.2|
Does Vitamin B7 Have Side Effects?
There are no known severe negative effects due to overconsumption of biotin. Even an abnormally high intake of biotin through diet would not cause toxicity because it is a water-soluble vitamin. Any vitamins that are water-soluble do not accumulate in the body, and high doses leave the body through urine. Regardless, to be on the safe side, any vitamin B7 supplements should be taken with food to minimize risk.
Can too much biotin hurt you? Some minor side effects from biotin have been found in response to biotin supplements, including diarrhea, cramping, stomach discomfort, skin rashes, vomiting, and nausea. A recent study has indicated that excessive use of biotin supplements can affect the absorption of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) in your body, which can lead to several skin issues, such as acne development. It is recommended that you use natural food sources rather than supplements to obtain required vitamins and minerals and to avoid side effects. Always consult with a physician to determine how much biotin is safe for your kid. (7)(11)
Biotin is also known as vitamin B7, and it belongs to the group of B-complex vitamins. Biotin performs several important functions in your child’s body. It is essential in supporting the health of your child’s skin, hair, and nails. It also helps metabolize macronutrients (fats, glucose, and protein) to generate energy. Lack of biotin can cause hair loss, skin problems, brittle nails, anemia, and delayed growth in kids. It is important that you try to include biotin-rich foods, such as organ meat, nuts, seeds, eggs, and fish in your child’s diet. Natural foods are typically sufficient in providing enough biotin in your diet, but supplementation may be necessary in the case of severe deficiency. It is always recommended that you consult with your child’s physician to see if supplementation is required to meet your child’s unique needs and to establish appropriate dosing guidelines.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog post is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not use this information for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.