Biotin deficiency

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 03 Sep 2019

Biotin deficiency is very rare. Biotin is a vitamin which acts as an enzymatic cofactor with a key role in energy production and the synthesis of fats. Biotin is present in a diverse range of cereals, nuts, seeds and eggs. Hence, true deficiency is unusual. It has been observed in the following scenarios:

  • those needing total or near total parenteral nutrition with preparations that lack sufficient biotin
  • biotinidase deficiency
    • a rare autosomal recessive genetic disease, in which the enzymatic activation of biotin is dysfunctional, resulting in a lack of bioavailable vitamin
  • chronic ingestion of raw egg whites

More recently work has suggested that increased biotinolysis may occur in smokers and pregnancy 2

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