Biotin is part of the B-Complex vitamin set, although it is not as well known as vitamins such as Niacin, Thiamin, or Riboflavin. It is water-soluble, which means that it is not stored in the fatty tissue and excess biotin is eliminated through the body by urination.
Biotin plays a large role in maintaining healthy skin and hair. Biotin also plays an important role in growth, digestion, muscle formation, and in enabling the body to use glucose as an energy source. It also may play a role in litter size of some animals.
The chronic ingestion of raw egg whites may cause a biotin deficiency. Raw egg whites contain an enzyme called avidin that destroys biotin. Also, prolonged taking of antibiotics has been shown to decrease biotin levels in the body. Signs of a biotin deficiency are skin lesions, dry haircoat, anemia, and lethargy.
Liver, oils from seeds, and yeast are the most important natural sources of biotin. Biotin is also found in supplements, either on its own, as a vitamin-mineral supplement, or in Drs. Foster & Smith Brewers Yeast, which is naturally rich in biotin.