Vitamin B7 deficiency


  • Almost all food contain significant quantities of biotin, but it is most found in plants, liver, egg yolk, soybean products, and yeast.
  • Daily biotin requirement is low (150-300 ug/d).
  • Intestinal flora synthesizes significant quantities of biotin.
  • Biotin is recycled in the body and eventually lost in urine and feces.

Cofactor in four major carboxylation reactions

  1. Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase (ACC) - Acetyl-CoA to Malonyl-CoA in Fatty Acid Synthesis
  2. Pyruvate Carboxylase (PC) - Pyruvate to Oxaloacetate in Gluconeogenesis
  3. Propinoyl-CoA Carboxylase (PCC) - Propinoyl-CoA to Methylmalonyl-CoA in Odd Chain Fatty Acid Metabolism
  4. Methylcrotonyl CoA Carboxylase (MCC) - 3-Methylcrotonyl CoA to 3-Methylglutaconyl CoA in Leucine Metabolism

Biotin deficiency risk factors

  1. Long-term Parenteral Nutrition
  2. Consumption of raw egg whites (bodybuilders or boxers)

Secondary biotin deficiency (Multiple Carboxylase Deficiency)

Is caused by two inherited defects in metabolism:

  1. Holocarboxylase Synthetase Deficiency - Autosomal Recessive disorder. Holocarboxylase Synthetase is required to attach biotin to other molecules. Deficiency in this enzyme prevents cells from using Biotin.
  2. Biotinidase Deficiency - Biotinidase is required to release Biotin that is bounded to protein.

Clinical Features

Classical Presentation

Holocarboxylase Synthetase Deficiency

Presents in the first week of life with:

Biotinidase Deficiency

Presents later in life with:

Differential Diagnosis

  • DDx involves genetic disorders with impaired carboxylation.
    • Biotinidase Deficiency (see above)
    • Holocarboxylase Synthetase Deficiency (see above)
    • Carnitine Deficiency
    • Methylmalonic Acidemia
    • Propionic Acidemia
    • Pyruvate Carboxylase Deficiency
  • Starvation
  • Medication Use - Antibiotics or anticonvulsants
  • Other vitamin deficiencies:

Vitamin deficiencies


  • Diagnosis is primarily clinical. Routine serum chemistry panel should be checked.
  • Other Laboratory Studies
    • Newborn Screening
    • Serum Biotinidase Activity decreased
    • Serum Ammonia Levels increased
    • Plasma Carnitine
    • Quantitative Amino Acid levels
    • Urine B-Hydroxyisoverlate decreased
    • Urine Biotin decreased
    • Urine Ketones increased


  • Supplementation of Biotin. Dosage is debated:
    • 150 ug intramuscular injection suggested
    • 5-20 mg/dl have also been used
  • Stop consumption of raw eggs.
  • Stop culprit anti-convulsant or anti-biotic


  • Follow-up with primary care provider or referral to genetic specialist.

See Also

External Links