Synonyms:Vitamin H; Vitamin B7; Hexahydro-2-oxo-1H-thieno[3,4-d]imidazole-4-pentanoic acid
Molecular Formula: C10H16N2O3S
Molecular Weight: 244.31
CAS Registry Number: 58-85-5
Biotin, also known as vitamin H or B7, is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin which is composed of an ureido (tetrahydroimidizalone) ring fused with a tetrahydrothiophene ring. A valeric acid substituent is attached to one of the carbon atoms of the tetrahydrothiophene ring. Biotin is a cofactor in the metabolism of fatty acids and leucine, and it plays a role in gluconeogenesis.
Biotin supplements are often recommended as a natural product to counteract the problem of hair loss in both children and adults. The signs and symptoms of biotin deficiency include hair loss which progresses in severity to include loss of eye lashes and eye brows in severely deficient subjects. Some shampoos are available that contain biotin, but it is doubtful whether they would have any useful effect, as biotin is not absorbed well through the skin.
Animal studies have indicated few, if any, effects due to toxic doses of biotin. This may provide evidence that both animals and humans could tolerate doses of at least an order of magnitude greater than each of their nutritional requirements. There are no reported cases of adverse effects from receiving high doses of the vitamin, particularly when used in the treatment of metabolic disorders causing sebhorrheic dermatitis in infants.