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Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Mar;69(3):504-8.

Bioavailability of biotin given orally to humans in pharmacologic doses.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and the Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute, Little Rock 72202-3591, USA.



Patients with carboxylase deficiency are treated with pharmacologic doses of biotin.


We sought to determine the bioavailability of biotin at pharmacologic doses.


Biotin was administered orally (2.1, 8.2, or 81.9 micromol) or intravenously (18.4 micromol) to 6 healthy adults in a crossover design with > or =2 wk between each biotin administration. Before and after each administration, timed 24-h urine samples were collected. Urinary biotin and biotin metabolites were analyzed by an HPLC avidin-binding assay.


Urinary recoveries of biotin plus metabolites were similar (approximately 50%) after the 2 largest oral doses and the 1 intravenous dose, suggesting 100% bioavailability of the 2 largest oral doses. For unexplained reasons, the apparent recovery of the smallest oral dose was about twice that of the other doses. For all 4 doses, biotin accounted for >50% of the total of biotin and biotin metabolites in urine. Bisnorbiotin (13-23%), biotin-d,l-sulfoxide (5-13%), bisnorbiotin methyl ketone (3-9%), and biotin sulfone (1-3%) accounted for the remainder. The percentage excretion of biotin was greater when biotin was administered intravenously and for the largest oral dose than for the 2 smallest oral doses.


Our data provide evidence that oral biotin is completely absorbed even when pharmacologic doses are administered. Biotin metabolites account for a substantial portion of total urinary excretion and must be considered in bioavailability studies. We speculate that renal losses of biotin (as a percentage of the dose administered) are moderately elevated when pharmacologic doses of biotin are administered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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