What is vitamin B7?

Elizabeth Casparro, MPH,RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

Vitamin B7, also known as biotin, is an essential water-soluble nutrient involved in many different reactions. It is essential for energy metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, gluconeogenesis (making of glucose from non-glucose sources), fatty acid (parts of fats) metabolism, amino acid (building blocks of proteins) metabolism and DNA synthesis. Deficiency is rare since it occurs in so many different food sources: whole grains (not enriched), eggs, nuts and legumes. Toxicity level is unknown, but can be mostly attributed to the fact that excess amounts are readily excreted from the body.

Neal Spruce
Neal Spruce on behalf of dotFIT
Vitamin B7 is also known as biotin, which is necessary for 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. Little evidence exists that it can deliver on this recommendation unless someone was deficient, which would be very rare in developed nations. Biotin deficiency is rare because in normal health 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, which can lead to certain metabolic disorders. In this case they may be treated by a qualified physician with biotin therapy. Biotin sources include Swiss chard, eggs (mainly the yolk), liver, some vegetables and supplements. Most daily multivitamin and mineral formulas (MVM) contain all the biotin necessary (and probably a little more) for normal healthy people. Although biotin deficiencies are rare, marginal deficiencies have been shown in certain populations such as during pregnancy, athletes, dieters, elderly, alcoholics, and burn patients, which can lead to decreased energy production and other biotin related functions. For this reason we always recommend a daily MVM to all populations containing between 100-300 mg of biotin (B7). Active people maintaining low body fat may do better at the higher part of this range.
Vitamin B7 is a member of the B-vitamin family called biotin or vitamin H. It is produced in the body and found in many foods. Most people who eat a healthy diet will not need to take a B7 supplement, but it can be bought over the counter or prescribed by a doctor if needed. It helps keep nails and hair healthy and helps control cholesterol, making it a very important nutrient. Ask your doctor if you are worried that you are not receiving enough vitamin B7 through your diet alone.

Continue Learning about Vitamins



In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates vitamin supplements and provides recommended daily amount information. The FDA says that we should pay attention when considering vitamin supplements, because ...

frequently many different vitamins and minerals are combined into one product.

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.