Is It Safe To Give Biotin To Children?

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Biotin, also called vitamin H or B7, is a water-soluble vitamin belonging to the B group of vitamins. Many parents may consider supplementing biotin for children since it plays a crucial role in the body’s metabolic balance of fats, carbs, and amino acids. However, most children can acquire the required biotin from dietary sources. Therefore, it is recommended to give biotin supplements to children as per a pediatrician’s recommendation since not all may need it.

Read on to know about the reasons for biotin supplementation in children, the dosage, the risks, and foods rich in biotin.

In This Article

Why Is Biotin Needed For Kids?

Dietary intake of biotin can provide the following benefits to your child (1).

  • Plays a role in energy production
  • Promotes hair health and growth
Biotin may help promote hair growth in children

Image: Shutterstock

  • Helps maintain skin health and nail strength
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Supports brain development and brain functions

Biotin is also known for reducing blood sugar levels in diabetic patients and lowering bad cholesterol. However, these benefits are most relevant for adults than children.

Dietary intake of biotin can meet the requirements for most kids. Biotin supplements are popularly used for treating or preventing hair loss, hair thinning, hair shaft damages, brittle nails, and skin. However, there is not enough scientific evidence to prove these abilities.

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Bacteria in the intestine can produce biotin (9). However, its intake through food is also essential to meet daily biotin needs.

Natural Sources Of Biotin

Children can obtain biotin from foods

Image: Shutterstock

Biotin is present in some amounts in most foods. Biotin-rich foods include (2):

  • Meat and organ meat (liver)
  • Cooked eggs
  • Yeast
  • Bread
  • Whole-wheat
  • Salmon
  • Raspberries
  • Banana
  • Fish
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Milk and other dairy products

Cooked eggs are a rich source of biotin. The presence of avidin, a glycoprotein in raw egg whites, prevents the absorption of biotin in the digestive tract. Therefore, it is best to serve cooked eggs instead of raw eggs to children to avoid biotin deficiency.

Food processing, such as canning, may also decrease the amount of biotin in foods. However, cooking is not shown to reduce the content of biotin in foods (3).

Recommended Dietary Allowance

The National Institute Of Health (NIH) defines the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) as the average daily intake to meet the nutritional requirements of all healthy people. However, there is inadequate data to establish the RDA of biotin (4). Therefore, an adequate intake (AI) is recommended.

The AI of biotin in micrograms per day for children of various age groups is as follows (5).

AgeAdequate intake (AI) (mcg/day)
1-3 years8
4-8 years12
9-13 years20
14-18 years25
19 years and older30

Sources: National Institutes of Health and Oregon State University

Breastfed infants receive biotin from breast milk and infant formulas. If you wish to provide biotin supplements to a baby, then speak to a pediatrician.

Risks And Causes Of Biotin Deficiency In Children

Biotin deficiency is rare. A severe lack of biotin has never been reported in healthy individuals consuming a mixed diet.

There might be a risk of biotin deficiency in the following cases (5):

  • Parenteral (intravenous) nutritional support without biotin
  • Anticonvulsant medications
  • Chronic liver diseases
  • Prolonged oral antibiotic therapies

Along with these factors, inborn errors of metabolism that are hereditary or genetic disorders in which the body cannot turn food into energy can also cause biotin deficiency. Examples of disorders that could lead to biotin deficiency a Examples of disorders that could lead to biotin deficiency are as follows (5).

  • Biotinidase deficiency: According to the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), biotinidase deficiency is an inherited disorder affecting intestinal biotin absorption due to a lack of the enzyme biotinidase in the body, causing secondary biotin deficiency (6). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that biotinidase deficiency is rare and affects approximately one in every 61,067 individuals worldwide. If an individual has biotinidase deficiency, the healthcare provider may prescribe 5-10mg of oral biotin supplement to cope with the condition.
  • Holocarboxylase synthetase deficiency (HCS)iXAn hereditary condition that prevents the body from using biotin adequately. : Reduction in holocarboxylase makes the body unable to use vitamin biotin efficiently. High doses of vitamin B7, around 10-80mg/day, is recommended for this deficiency.
  • Biotin transport deficiency: Defects in human sodium-dependent multivitamin transporter (hSMVT) protein could affect biotin transport. Children with this deficiency may require higher doses of vitamin supplements.
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU)iX An inherited condition that causes the body to accumulate phenylalanine, an amino acid, to harmful levels. : Increased phenylalanineiXA naturally occurring amino acid found in foods such as milk, eggs, and meat. amino acids in PKU patients’ blood may inhibit biotinidase. Children with this condition are likely to benefit from a low protein diet rather than biotin supplements.

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Individuals with conditions such as Crohn’s disease cannot absorb nutrients properly and experience biotin insufficiency or deficiency (9).

Signs And Symptoms Of Biotin Deficiency In Kids

The signs and symptoms of biotin deficiency may include (7):

  • Hair loss and hair thinning
  • Brittle nails (onychorrhexis)
Biotin deficiency can cause brittle nails

Image: Shutterstock

  • Red scaly rashes around mouth, nose, eyes or in the perineum
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Lack of energy
  • Paresthesia (prickling or burning) in hands and legs
  • Developmental delay in babies
  • Seborrheic dermatitisiXA skin condition that causes scaly rashes on oily areas such as the face and the scalp.
  • Fungal infections, especially candidiasis

Biotin deficiency may cause fat deposits in the face known as “biotin deficiency faces.” Aciduria (increased acids in the urine) and keto lactic acidosis due to increased lactate production and reduced clearance can also be the results of biotin deficiency.

Do Children Need Biotin Supplements?

Biotin deficiency is rare, and supplementation is not often required. Most dietary guidelines recommend meeting nutritional biotin needs through food sources. Therefore, most children may not require biotin supplementation.

If you find any symptoms of vitamin deficiency, take your child to a doctor. They may prescribe biotin supplements if necessary. Biotin supplements can be a single nutrient supplement or multivitamin-mineral supplement (MVM). 30mcg of biotin is present in most of the MVM supplements. However, kids may require lower levels of supplementation (5).

Biotin for kids is usually available as tablets or capsules. Oral and topical (creams or solutions for external use) biotin is available in brand names including, Appearex, Meribin, Nail-ex, and Genadur.

Biotin supplements for kids are available as chewable treats, such as gummy vitamins (chewable vitamins). Therefore, store them away from kids as the supplements taste like candies, and children might get tempted to have them in more than the prescribed quantity.

Safe Biotin Dosage For Children

The doctor will prescribe a safe biotin dosage depending on the child’s age, weight, and the requirements.

Capsules or tablets can be taken to prevent deficiency. The dosage for oral route biotin may depend on daily dietary intakes. For the treatment of biotin deficiency, the dose is decided based on the severity of deficiency.

Storage Of Biotin Supplements

You may store biotin supplements at room temperature, away from direct light, heat, and moisture. Store them in a closed container and away from the child’s reach. Do not refrigerate B7 vitamin supplements. Throw away the outdated supplements to avoid accidental intakes (8).

What If You Miss A Dose Of Biotin?

If your child misses a biotin dose, then you may give them as soon as possible. If it is near the next dose (less than 12 hours away), then you may skip the missed dose to avoid double dosing and continue with their regular dose plan (8).

Missing biotin supplements for a few days may not cause any harm since it takes more time for the body to deplete biotin. However, if your child is on the prescription of a biotin supplement due to any health condition, then you may stick to a regular schedule to avoid consequences.

Side Effects Of Biotin Supplements

An overdose of biotin supplements can cause an allergic reaction

Image: IStock

You may seek emergency medical care if you notice any allergic reactions in your child after consuming biotin supplements. Signs of an allergic reaction include breathing trouble, lip, mouth, tongue, or facial swelling, and skin hives.

You may call the pediatrician if your kid has stomach upset or diarrhea related to the side effects of vitamin supplements.

Overdose Of Biotin Supplements

Biotin overdose is rare since it is a water-soluble vitamin that can be excreted through urine.

Vitamin B7 toxicity

Excessive storage of vitamins in the body may cause toxic symptoms, and this condition is called hypervitaminosis. Dietary intake from natural food sources may not result in vitamin toxicities. However, it may occur due to excess intake of vitamin-fortified foods and supplements.

Water-soluble B vitamin and vitamin C toxicities are rare compared to fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K). However, high dose supplements and fortified food with high amounts may lead to hypervitaminosis.

The following can be seen in biotin toxicity (abnormally high storage of biotin in the body).

  • False lab results: Excess biotin levels may interfere with laboratory results using biotin-streptavidin technology. This may give incorrect high or low measurements on examinations. Thyroid hormone and calcifediol (vitamin D prehormone) are often changed on lab analysis due to the high intake of the vitamin biotin. It may eventually show false results of hyperthyroidism (5).
  • Interference with medications: Biotin supplements may interfere with certain anticonvulsant drugs such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, primidone, etc.
  • Scurfy skin: Some children may develop itchy and scaly skin due to high levels of vitamin B7 in the body.

The doctor will decide the precise dosage of oral biotin supplements after considering the child’s age and overall health. Do not provide biotin supplements without speaking to the doctor. Most kids can get their required vitamins and minerals from dietary sources. It is essential to consume a mixed diet balancing all nutrients to avoid deficiencies. You may plan your child’s diet to meet the daily adequate intake of essential vitamins such as vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin C, and B complex vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long will it take for biotin to work on my hair?

According to research, biotin takes around three months to begin to work (9). However, you should not depend on supplements and wait for them to work. Commit to healthy eating habits, use natural hair care products, and create a work-life balance.

2. Will biotin make me gain weight?

Presently, no evidence suggests taking biotin supplements can lead to weight gain. But anecdotal reports reveal that people feel an increased appetite after using biotin supplements. It results in overeating, and consequently, weight gain.

3. Can biotin supplements interfere with lab tests or blood work in children?

Yes, taking too much biotin can interfere with the lab test results, such as hormone tests, and wrongly interpreted lab results can have adverse outcomes. Hence, taking biotin supplements under a doctor’s recommendation is advised (10).

4. Can biotin supplements help with my child’s eczema?

Biotin may help with eczema in children. However, this has not been proven through research yet (11).

Vitamin B7 or Biotin for children is important for the healthy growth of hair, energy boost, brain functions, and other functions. It is easily available in components of a balanced diet. If you observe symptoms such as hair loss, brittle nails, or skin issues, it may indicate biotin deficiency. It is more probable if the child is on parenteral nutrition or has an underlying disorder that causes decreased biotin absorption or use. However, whether your child needs biotin supplements or not should be solely judged by a pediatrician.

Infographic: Top Five Biotin-rich Foods

Biotin-rich foods in your child’s diet ensure they get sufficient amounts of this nutrient. These five biotin-rich foods are nutritious and versatile. They can be used to make several delectable dishes. Stick this to your menu board and share it with fellow moms.

biotin rich foods and enhancing their absorption (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

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Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that is also available as a supplement.
  • Biotin helps in metabolism, energy production, hair growth, and maintaining healthy skin and nails.
  • It is present in many foods, such as bananas, certain meats, cooked eggs, bread, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and dairy products.
  • The symptoms of biotin deficiency are hair loss, brittle nails, conjunctivitis, rashes, and developmental delays.
  • Children do not need biotin supplements unless recommended by a doctor as excessive biotin in the body may cause adverse health effects.

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

1. Vitamin B7 benefits; Nutri-facts
2. What is Biotin?; Food Insight; The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFICF)
3. Vitamin B; Betterhealth; Victoria State Government
4. Biotin; The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS); The National Institutes of Health
5. Biotin; Oregon State University
6. Biotinidase deficiency; National Institutes of Health
7. Biotin-Vitamin B7; Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
8. Biotin (oral); C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
9. A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair; NCBI
10. Biotin may throw off lab test results; Harvard Health
11. Biotin; University of Rochester Medical Centre

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