Biotin and pantothenic acid are vitamins present in many types of foods, so deficiency almost never occurs. Biotin is alos produced by bacteria in the intestines, but our organism can harly use this form of biotin. Multivitam preparations of vitamin B mainly contain biotin and pantothenic acid (also called vitamin B5), but these vitamins can also be obtained as separate preparations. The basic form of biotin is D-biotin. On the other hand, pantothenic acid can have two forms: pantethine and calcium pantothenate, which is suitable for most needs, and cheaper than pantethin.
How do they work?
Both vitamins participate in the production of various enzymes, as well as in the decomposition of carbohydrates, fat and protein from the food that the body can use for its needs. Biotin is particularly important for the utilization of glucose, the main source of energy in the body, and it also has a beneficial effect on hair and nails. Pantothenic acid is needed for proper communication between the brain and the rest of the nervous system and the production of some stress hormones.
MAIN USEFUL EFFECTS: dietary supplements with biotin can improve the quality of weak and fragile nails and slow down the hair loss caused by the lack of this vitamin. Pantothenic acid is involved in the production of some hormones that are secreted during the stress, so it seems that in conditions of emotional anxiety and depression there is a growing need for that vitamin. Nutritional supplements containing pantothenic acid can relieve stress caused by migraine, chronic fatigue syndrome or smoking cessation. If taken with choline, pantothenic acid can be an effective remedy for bad digestion. It also reduces the nose clogging caused by, for example, hay fever.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: in very high doses, biotin may be of benefit to diabetics by increasing body’s sensitivity to insulin, so the level of glucose (sugar in blood) remain lower. It can also help with nerve damage in diabetes. Diabetics should seek medical advice.
How much biotin and pantothenic acid is needed?
RDA values for biotin and pantothenic acid are not determined, but a daily dose of 30 to 100 μg of biotin and 4 to 7 mg of pantothenic acid is sufficient to maintain a healthy organism. Larger doses may be required in the treatment of certain diseases and disorders.
IF YOU TAKE TOO LITTLE: in adults,the lack of biotin or pantothenic acid rarely occurs. However, long-term use of antibiotics and antiepileptic drugs can cause the biotin level to be lower than the optimal level.
IF YOU TAKE TOO MUCH: although no serious side effects have been reported due to high intake of these vitamins, the daily dose should not exceed 900 μg of biotin or 200 mg of pantothenic acid.
How to take them?
For nails and hair: take up to 900 μg of biotin per day.
During the stress period: take 100 mg of pantothenic acid within the vitamin B-complex daily.
For migraine: take 100 mg of pantothenic acid, twice a day.
For chronic fatigue syndrome: take 100 mg of pantothenic acid, twice a day.
For allergy: take 100 mg of pantothenic acid, twice a day.
For diabetes: talk to your doctor about taking large biotin doses to relieve or prevent diabetic neuropathy.
USE GUIDELINES: the amount of biotin and pantothenic acid found in multivitamin or B-complex dietary supplements. Individual supplements of these vitamins are needed only in the treatment of some disorders. Individual supplement should be taken with meals.
Liver, soy products, nuts, oatmeal, rice, barley, legumes, cauliflower and unmalted grain of wheat are rich in biotin. On the other hand, entrails, fish, poultry, whole grains, yogurt and legumes are the best source of pantothenic acid.
IMPORTANT: if you are ill, consult your doctor before taking any supplements.