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What are the consequences of a biotin deficiency on the body?

Biotin, also known as vitamin B8 or vitamin H, is a water-soluble vitamin from the B group. It plays numerous roles within the body. A biotin deficiency can be dangerous, potentially leading to a series of problems, particularly concerning the skin, hair, and nails. Here are the consequences of a biotin deficiency on the body.


Consequence No. 1: A deficiency in biotin can dry out the skin.

Lacking in biotin can lead to several adverse effects on the skin. William MONTAGNA reported in a study the histological changes in the skin of biotin-deficient mice. Skin sections from these mice showed that their epidermis is slightly thicker than normal, and this thickening increases with the degree of biotin deficiency. This thickening is likely due to an accumulation of numerous keratohyaline granules, which is a structural protein of the cells in the granular layer of the epidermis. Furthermore, the amount of sebum significantly decreases in deficient mice.

Researchers have observed that the openings of the pilosebaceous units in deficient mice are blocked by keratinised debris related to the thickening of the skin. This could be the reason why there is virtually no sebum excretion on the skin's surface, and may result in skin dryness.

Nevertheless, human studies could clarify these results.

Consequence No. 2: A deficiency in biotin can cause dermatitis.

Julien LAMBERT and his team have studied the dermatological symptoms of a biotin deficiency, following the case of a four-year-old girl. A skin biopsy was performed and showed slight histological changes compared to normal skin, such as marked erythema (redness) and crusts, which could suggest a diagnosis of dermatitis nutritional. Nutritional dermatitis is a skin inflammatory disease associated with a nutritional problem.

A biotin therapy (5 mg/day) was subsequently administered, which significantly improved the child's skin condition. According to the researchers, this could confirm the diagnosis of a biotin deficiency, and therefore the dermatological issues that the little girl was experiencing would be due to this deficiency.

These are merely assumptions, and the mechanisms involved have not yet been identified. More studies on the subject are necessary.

Consequence No. 3: A deficiency in biotin can lead to hair loss.

In a study conducted by Ralph M. TRÜEB, the aim of this research was to ascertain the frequency and significance of a biotin deficiency in women complaining of a hair loss. The findings revealed that a biotin deficiency was observed in 38% of women complaining of hair loss.

Biotin is a necessary cofactor in the synthesis of proteins, particularly in the production of keratin, which explains its contribution to the healthy growth of nails and hair. Keratin is the primary protein that makes up hair and nails. Any adverse effect on its synthesis can jeopardise the normal growth of hair.

Given these results, it is plausible to consider that a deficiency in biotin may also affect the condition of the nails. However, there are not enough studies to make a definitive statement on this matter.


  • MONTAGNA W. Effect of Biotin Deficiency Upon the Skin of Mice. Experimental Biology and Medicine (1950).

  • LAMBERT J. & al. Dermatologic Signs of Biotin Deficiency Leading to the Diagnosis of Multiple Carboxylase Deficiency. Pediatric Dermatology (2004).

  • TRÜEB R.M. Serum Biotin Levels in Women Complaining of Hair Loss. International Journal of Trichology (2016).

  • CASTELO-SOCCIO L. & al. A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss. Skin Appendage Disorders (2017).


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