Vitamin H (biotin deficiency)

Biotin is of far-reaching importance for the biochemistry of the human body. It acts as an essential cofactor of four mitochondrial enzymes, each of which catalyse a decisive step in intermediary metabolism (fatty acid synthesis, cancer and citrate cycle, leucine reduction).

Pathogenesis
The clinical symptoms of biotin deficiency therefore reflect this. The pathogenesis of biotin deficiency clearly results in secondary biotin deficiency, which explains the similarity of the clinical symptoms when they appear. The pronounced deficiency of vitamin H manifests itself in the skin, hair and nails (skin appendages) and can, in addition, lead to gastrointestinal and specific psychiatric symptoms. The following are some of the symptoms that have been described: Alopecia, brittle nails, seborrhoeic dermatitis, hair loss with atrophy of the hair follicles, malabsorption, depression, hyperaesthesia, cholesterolemia and others.

Reference ranges
Normal blood levels of biotin are approx. 400-1200 ng/l. According to the information in the literature, there is a deficiency at levels below 400 ng/l. However, since the values also fluctuate from day to day, it is advisable to determine them again after approx. 3 days to reliably diagnose the deficiency, as well as in the course of therapy in order to monitor it. The therapeutic benefits of treatment with a suitable dose of this vitamin found in the skin, hair and nails – in the mg range – have only recently been recognised.

According to sec. 17.2 h of the Pharmaceutical Products Guidelines dated 30/08/1993, the costs of medicines are always reimbursable when biotin deficiency has been demonstrated in clinical chemistry testing. The costs for these medicines are also reimbursable for mild diseases according to sec. 21 c of the Pharmaceutical Products Guidelines (e.g. soft fingernails) when there is evidence of biotin deficiency. It is not known whether there are any consequences from an overdose.

Test material
1 ml of serum

Reference range
400-1200 ng/l
Conspicuous: < 400 ng/l

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