Also known as vitamin B7, coenzyme R, W Factor, and vitamin H

Why Is Biotin Important?

Biotin is essential for DNA stability.

Biotin's main known function in the body is as a coenzyme to trigger carboxylation reactions. However, biotin appears to also have non-coenzyme roles as well - in cell proliferation and the expression of genes (with over 2000 human genes dependent upon biotin). Biotin also interacts with histones, DNA-binding proteins that are important to the structure of chromosomes. Whether by carboxylation reaction or other mechanisms that are not completely understood yet, biotin is crucial to the healthy functioning of many body systems - including the heart and brain.2, 5, 7

Biotin Is Essential to Fat, Carbohydrate, and Protein Metabolism


With the help of synthase enzymes, biotin binds to and activates certain enzymes called carboxylases, triggering carboxylation reactions essential to the following functions:4

  • Cellular energy production via the Krebs cycle.7
  • Formation of glucose from non-carbohydrates.5
  • Metabolism of important amino acids (e.g., leucine), cholesterol, and fatty acids to release energy.5
  • Regulation of fatty acid oxidation.5
  • Release of insulin.7
  • Synthesis of fatty acids.5

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are critical to the proper development and function of multiple body systems and organs. Abnormal metabolism, and insufficient intake, of EFAs have been linked to the development or worsening of a number of diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer's disease.4

Biotin Helps Maintain DNA Stability

The exact functions impacted by biotinylation of histones are a relatively new area of research. Histones help bind DNA into nucleosomes - compact components of chromosomes.5 The biotin-histone reaction is known to be involved in various DNA-related activities:

  • Cellular proliferation and other responses.5
  • DNA repair.7
  • Maintaining DNA stability.7
  • Regulating DNA replication and expression of certain genes.5, 7

Biotin deficiency can lead to insufficient histone biotinylation, and can cause abnormal genetic expression and DNA instability. These effects have been shown to increase cancer risk in human cells and decrease life spans in fruit fly studies.7

Component of cell nucleus that contains genetic material.6
Also referred to as tricarboxylic acid anaplerosis or the citric acid cycle.6
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