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Food Sources High in Vitamin B8

Author:   Peter Sedesse MD

Vitamin B8 Requirements

Vitamin B8 is required in very small amounts within the body.  There is rarely an issue obtaining this nutrient despite the fact that very few foods contain even moderate amounts. The recommended amount of Vitamin B8 that we should consume is 300mcg per day.  On certain food and supplement labels, Vitamin B8 may be listed as Biotin.  While no food contains large amounts, a large variety of food sources contain trace amounts. Vitamin B8 is water-soluble, which means it is not stored well in the body and excessive amounts are removed from the body in urine.

Food sources rich in Vitamin B8

The highest food sources of Vitamin B8 include meat and eggs. The highest concentrations are actually found in egg yolks, but in a strange twist, there are enzymes in egg whites that destroys it. The best source of Vitamin B8 is fish, liver and poultry.  Red meat contains Vitamin B8, but has negative health effects and should be limited in food plans.  Another decent food source of Vitamin B8 is yeast and whole grains.  As with almost every other nutrient, Vitamin B8 is found mainly in the outer shells of the grains, so processing will significantly lower the amount found in food.

Why your body needs Vitamin B8

The main function of Vitamin B8 is in the storage and metabolism of amino acids.  Vitamin B8 is also a key component of the citric acid cycle which is the main series of chemical reactions that results in food being turned into energy within the body.  Vitamin B8 is also used in the immune system and in the production of hair and nails.

Health problems from insufficient Vitamin B8 from food sources

Vitamin B8 deficiency is extremely rare and can result in many different symptoms.  The most common first system is conjunctivitis along with inflammation in patches around the face. One of the signature symptoms of a deficiency is the rapid loss of hair color.  It is important to know that in almost all cases, lack of Vitamin B8 is not the result of a problem with the diet, but is instead caused by a digestive problem or disease.  This is most often seen in the elderly.   There are also certain medications that prevent the absorption of Vitamin B8 and can cause deficiency symptoms, the most common are Sulfa medications.

The recommended daily amount of Vitamin B8 is 300mcg per day, which is a very small amount.  On many food, and most supplement labels, Vitamin B8 is listed as Biotin.  This nutrient is found mostly in meat, dairy, eggs and whole grains.  Problems with absorption are the usual cause of B8 deficiencies and the first and most obvious symptoms include redness in the eyes and loss of hair quality and color.

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