Biotin deficiency

Biotin Deficiency

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Biotin deficiency

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Biotin deficiency is a rare nutritional disorder which can become serious, even fatal, if allowed to progress untreated. It can occur in people of any age, ancestry, or gender.

Biotin deficiency rarely occurs among healthy people, since the daily requirement of biotin is low, many foods provide adequate amounts of it, intestinal bacteria synthesize small amounts of it, and the body effectively scavenges and recycles it from bodily waste. However, deficiencies can be caused by consuming raw egg whites over a period of months to years. Egg whites contain high levels of avidin, a protein that binds biotin strongly. When cooked, avidin is denatured and becomes entirely non-toxic.


Causes of biotin deficiency include the following:

  1. Eating raw egg whites: Some mistakenly believe that raw egg-white consumption is the only cause of biotin deficiency. Nonetheless, a diet that contains raw egg whites quickly and almost invariably leads to biotin deficiency.
  2. Total parenteral nutrition without biotin supplementation: Several cases of biotin deficiency in patients receiving prolonged total parenteral nutrition (TPN) therapy without added biotin have been reported. Therefore, all patients receiving TPN must also receive biotin at the recommended daily dose, especially if TPN therapy is expected to last more than 1 week. All hospital pharmacies currently include biotin in TPN preparations.
  3. Anticonvulsant therapy: Prolonged use of certain drugs, especially phenytoin,......
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