Research suggests that nutrient deficiency can result in birth defects, but may be averted by vitamin supplements. In one controlled study, the rate of major birth defects was 48% less in women who took prenatal vitamins than those who took placebo.51
Low levels of biotin may actually be fairly common in pregnant women - occurring in 30-50% of pregnancies, by some estimates.Pregnancy can cause rapid depletion of biotin because of the demands created by rapid cell division as the fetus grows. Although these lower levels result in marginal biotin deficiency without apparent symptoms in the mother, there is significant concern that they may cause birth defects. In experiments with mice, insufficient biotin at levels that are symptom-free for the pregnant mouse caused almost 100% of the offspring to have cleft palates and/or limb abnormalities.5, 7, 51
Some scientists suggest that these studies clearly indicate a need for additional clinical trials to determine the risk of birth defects in infants born to women with insufficient, but not clinically apparent deficient, levels of biotin. However, the current U.S. recommended adequate intake of biotin remains the same for non-pregnant adults as for pregnant adult women (30 µg/day).5, 51
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Microgram; 1 µg is the equivalent of 1/1000 of a milligram.6