Aleksandra Kowalska, Julia Bartkiewicz, Katarzyna Dettlaff
Biotin – facts and hopes
Biotin is a vitamin known since the 1930s, a substance necessary for the operation of several enzymes: pyruvate carboxylase, propionyl-CoA carboxylase; -methylcrossonyl-CoA carboxylase, and acetyl CoA carboxylase. Symptoms of biotin deficiency include hair loss, brittleness of nails, seborrheic dermatitis, fatigue, increased somnolence, paraesthesia, neuropathy, muscle pain, decreased immunity, fetal malformations, ketoacidosis, and others. Congenital biotin deficiency causes a lack of enzymes: holocarboxylase synthetase or biotinidase, other causes of deficiency are related to the use of antiepileptic drugs, isotretinoin, or antibiotics. Researchers agree that biotin deficiency is very rare. Suboptimal levels of this vitamin are sometimes observed in pregnant and lactating women, patients with inflammatory bowel disease, and people with alcoholism.
There is limited literature data on skin, hair, and nail improvement after biotin treatment. Most often, doctors observed this vitamin’s beneficial effects in the patients’ groups where the level of biotin was reduced. In those who were not deficient, this vitamin rarely improved the skin’s condition and its appendages, and reports on this topic are based on small groups of respondents.
In the last decade, the influence of high doses of biotin on the condition of patients with multiple sclerosis has been studied. It has been hypothesized that this vitamin may affect the process of myelin synthesis in oligodendrocytes by increasing the supply of fatty acid precursors and replenishing the adenosine triphosphate pool to hypoxic neurons. The results of the pilot study published in 2015 were promising, but subsequent clinical trials showed little effect of high doses of biotin (300 mg per day) on patients’ disability, but patients reported less pain and discomfort. On these studies, it was found that even such high doses of biotin are well tolerated by patients but may interfere with the results of laboratory tests.
Since immunoassays using biotin-streptavidin binding are commonly used to determine thyroid hormones, parathyroid hormone, troponin, vitamin D, luteinizing, and follicle-stimulating hormones, steroid hormones, and some tumor markers, biotin preparations should be discontinued for at least 48 hours before blood sampling, for these analyzes.
Keywords: deficiency, supplementation, laboratory tests, biotin, multiple sclerosis.
© Farm Pol, 2022, 78(7): 403–411