Biotin biochemistry and human requirements

Janos Zempleni, Donald M. Mock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Human biotin turnover and requirements can be estimated on the basis of (1) concentrations of biotin and metabolites in body fluids, (2) activities of biotin-dependent carboxylases, and (3) the urinary excretion of organic acids that are formed at increased rates if carboxylase activities are reduced. Recent studies suggest that the urinary excretions of biotin and its metabolite bisnorbiotin, activities of propionyl-CoA carboxylase and β-methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase in lymphocytes, and urinary excretion of 3-hydroxyisovaleric acid are good indicators of marginal biotin deficiency. On the basis of studies using these indicators of biotin deficiency, an adequate intake of 30 μg (123 nmoles) of biotin per day is currently recommended for adults. The dietary biotin intake in Western populations has been estimated to be 35 to 70 μg/d (143-287 nmol/d). Recent studies suggest that humans absorb biotin nearly completely. Conditions that may increase biotin requirements in humans include pregnancy, lactation, and therapy with anticonvulsants or lipoic acid. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-138
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Biotin
  • Carboxylases
  • Human
  • Metabolism
  • Requirements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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