Biotin, also referred to as vitamin B-7 or vitamin H, is a water-soluble vitamin that is important for optimal health, especially in children and adolescents. Biotin is a precursor to enzymes that help break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates into usable energy in your body and is likely safe as a nutritional supplement for most individuals. Egg yolks, liver, carrots and peanuts contain high levels of biotin, but these foods may not appeal to children and some may have an allergy to foods containing biotin. Talk with your child's pediatrician before using a biotin supplement to make sure it is suitable for your child.
Although a biotin deficiency is rare, it can cause potentially serious adverse effects. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that a deficiency in biotin can cause hair loss, dry skin, swollen tongue, dry eyes, loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia and depression. Young children and infants with a biotin deficiency can develop a condition called cradle cap, or seborrheic dermatitis, which involves having scaly scalp. A deficiency can be corrected with biotin supplements
Biotin supplements can help correct a condition called alopecia in both children and adults. Alopecia, or baldness, can affect young children and involves the uncontrolled loss of head hair and can occur due to a biotin deficiency. To treat alopecia in children, biotin is best used with the mineral, zinc, and the topical medicated cream, clobetasol propionate to help stop hair loss and stimulate hair growth in the affected area. Do not use biotin supplements without your doctor's supervision.
Strengthens Fingernails and Toenails
Biotin helps maintain the structural integrity and overall health of your finger and toenails. A biotin deficiency can lead to brittle or cracking nails, which can not only be painful but can also leave your child more susceptible to infectious bacteria and fungi. Biotin helps your body produce proteins that contribute to the structure of the nails, making them stronger and less likely to break.
Recommended dietary allowances for biotin can differ based on age, sex and physical condition, and only a physician or your child's pediatrician can decide how much biotin may be necessary. However, the daily recommendation for adolescents and adults is 30 to 100 micrograms of biotin daily. Children 7 to 10 years old require about 30 micrograms, while children 4 to 6 years old need only 25 micrograms of biotin. Infants younger than 3 should be consuming about 10 to 20 micrograms each day.
- MedlinePlus: Biotin
- "Nutrition for Health, Fitness, and Sport"; Melvin H. Williams; 2002
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin H (Biotin)