Small amounts of this B vitamin are found in carrots, almonds, milk, and other foods. Aside from helping the body process fats and sugars, oral biotin is important for regulating hair and nail growth. Shampoos and conditioners containing it claim the ingredient reduces hair breakage and increases elasticity. Biotin (or vitamin B7) is one of the B vitamins. It is involved in a wide range of metabolic processes, both in humans and in other organisms, primarily related to the utilization of fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids. The name biotin derives from the Greek word "bios" (to live) and the suffix "-in" (a suffix used in chemistry usually to indicate "forming") The US National Academy of Medicine updated Dietary Reference Intakes for many vitamins in 1998. At that time there was insufficient information to establish estimated average requirement or recommended dietary allowance, terms that exist for most vitamins. In instances such as this, the academy sets adequate intakes (AIs) with the understanding that at some later date, when the physiological effects of biotin are better understood, AIs will be replaced by more exact information. The biotin AIs for both males and females are: 5 μg/day of biotin for 0-to-6-month-olds, 6 μg/day of biotin for 7-to-12-month-olds, 8 μg/day of biotin for 1-to-3-year-olds, 12 μg/day of biotin for 4-to-8-year-olds, 20 μg/day of biotin for 9-to-13-year-olds, 25 μg/day of biotin for 14-to-18-year-olds, and 30 μg/day of biotin for those 19 years old and older. The biotin AIs for females who are either pregnant or lactating, respectively, are: 30 μg/day of biotin for pregnant females 14-to-50-years old and 35 μg/day of biotin for lactating females 14-to-50-years old. Australia and New Zealand set AIs similar to the US.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also identifies AIs, setting values at 40 μg/day for adults, pregnancy at 40 μg/day, and breastfeeding at 45 μg/day. For children ages 1–17 years, the AIs increase with age from 20 to 35 μg/day.
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