What is the difference between vitamin B7 and other B vitamins?

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Neal Spruce
Neal Spruce on behalf of dotFIT
Fitness
B7 (also known as biotin) is part of the B vitamin complex. All the B-vitamins (like all individual vitamins) have their specific functions but also work together. They are responsible for virtually all metabolic and developmental processes that take place in the body, including energy production, cell division & replication, growth, etc. The human body needs B7/biotin along with the other B vitamins to help the body to convert food to energy, and to properly utilize fats and protein.

All the B vitamins are also needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. Vitamin B7 has a very specific function in energy production, cell growth, production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids. It plays a primary role in all of our cells’ energy production by being an integral player in the citric acid cycle where biochemical energy is generated as we breathe.

Biotin is often recommended for strengthening hair and nails and therefore found in related products. Little evidence exists that it can deliver on this recommendation unless someone was deficient, which is rare in developed nations. Full biotin deficiency is rare because in healthy persons our intestinal bacteria produce it in excess of the body's daily requirements, which are only about 30-100 mcg. That said, there are individuals with abnormal metabolism of biotin leading to certain metabolic disorders. In this case they may be treated by a qualified physician with biotin therapy.

Generally biotin supplementation can correct the related deficiencies. Food sources include Swiss chard, eggs (mainly the yolk), liver and some vegetables. The other B vitamins include: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxamine), B9 (folic acid), and B12 (cobalamin).The goal is to make sure you get proper daily amounts of all necessary B vitamins. This goal is accomplished by eating a healthy diet (as found in the Sharecare Fitness application) and taking a daily multivitamin and mineral formula that contains the necessary B vitamins within the amounts shown below (upper portion of range for active people and/or dieters unless otherwise noted):
  • B1: 2-10mg
  • B2: 5-10mg
  • B3 (Niacinamide -- this form will not cause flushing): 15-30 mg/day
  • B5: 0-15mgs (women and over 50)
  • B6: 6-12mg
  • B7 (biotin): 100-300 mcg
  • Folic acid: 200-400 mcg
  • B12: 12-100 mcg
There are seven other B vitamins in addition to vitamin B7 or biotin. They are thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), and cyanocobalamin (B12). Each of the B vitamins shares the job of helping your body metabolize sugar for energy and helping create or improve cells. The reason they are classified as different vitamins, however, is because they all serve a slightly different specific function. For example, B7 helps improve your hair and nail health, while too little B12 or B6 in your diet could cause you to have anemia.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.