Recent Clinical Developments

Some infants have been reported to have a biotin-related ailment, seborrheic dermatitis, early in their first few months after birth. Their digestive systems may be defective at the beginning and not producing gastric enzymes for hydrolysis of biotin. If a mother is breast-feeding an infant, her own body will be able to convert bound to unbound biotin, carried in the breast milk. The mother can add liver and cooked eggs to her diet to help her infant with this problem. Injections of biotin are also known to clear up the disorder.

Sudden Death Syndrome (SIDS) in children may be attributed to a deficiency of biotin as well. This disease, usually fatal, strikes babies two to four months old. Research scientists in Australia and England working with baby chicks found that the chicks died without warning from a deficiency of biotin plus mild stress. Subsequently, the bodies of 35 infants who had died from SIDS were checked: their levels of biotin were found to be very low. Moreover, many of the babies who died of SIDS were found to be heavily clothed at the time of death. The theory now is that SIDS develops from a lack of biotin, prompted by some event such as a missed meal, plus too much warmth or coldness from blankets or clothes or a change in environment.

If a woman finds her hair falling out during pregnancy, one of the vitamins needed may be biotin. The deficiency may be caused by stress factors in volved in adjustment within the body. ■ * ' :

It's also just now becoming understood that biotin has something to do with the carbohydrate metabolism process. Diabetics who take insulin have a higher requirement for biotin, thiamine and pantothenic acid. But further research is needed to understand biotin's complete role in the process.

Of great interest and much controversy, too, is a study reported by Adelle Davis. She found that cancer patients who had been fed 36 to 42 raw egg whites daily for a year showed a trend toward general health improvement and no deficiency of biotin.

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