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Clinician’s Corner: Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin-B5) and Biotin, (Vitamin B-7)

Let’s cover two less common vitamins, pantothenic acid (Vitamin-B5) and biotin, (Vitamin B-7).  Deficiencies of these vitamins are rare, but with long term antibiotic use levels may be affected.

Pantothenic Acid

  • Use: breakdown of fats and carbohydrates for energy, vitamin B5 (like all B- complex)
  • Deficiency is very rare but can cause numbness and tingling in the feet. Pantothenic acid is made by bacteria in the colon, as well as dietary intake.
  • critical to the manufacture of red blood cells, as well as sex and stress-related hormones (adrenal hormones).
  • Vitamin B5 is also important in maintaining a healthy digestive tract, and it helps the body use other vitamins, particularly B2 or riboflavin

Biotin  (Also known as Vitamin-H)

  • Deficiency in developed countries is rare. High levels found in liver, cauliflower, salmon, carrots, bananas, cereals, nuts, chocolate and yeast. Also synthesized by intestinal microflora. Biotin deficiency may lead to muscle pain, dermatitis, and swelling of the tongue
  • Excess consumption of raw egg whites will lower biotin levels.
  • About half of pregnant women in the United States develop a marginal biotin deficiency, especially in the early weeks. Supplementation with biotin and folic acid, reduces some birth defects.
  • Smoking may contribute to biotin deficiency

Biotin uses:

  • Helps metabolize carbs, fats and amino acids—4 enzymes are dependent on biotin for activity
  • Hair and nails: Evidence is weak for using biotin to strengthen hair and nails. Some supplements contain 5,000mcg of Biotin, which can interfere with lab tests.
  • Deficiency state: hair loss, dry scaly skin, cheilitis, glossitis, dry eyes, loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia, and depression. Again, this is very rare.
  • Excess: slower release of insulin, skin rashes, lower vitamin C and B6 levels and high blood sugar levels.

Biotin Interference with Lab Assays:

  • High doses of biotin, such as those found in the Hair, Nails and Skin supplements may interfere with common laboratory tests for diagnosing heart attacks and thyroid disorders.

Always tell the lab technician and your doctor that you are taking biotin supplements as they may give false results.

As always, your Thompson Pharmacist is a great resource for vitamin selection. Go ahead and ask… at Thompson Pharmacy it’s all for YOU!