Biotin is a water-soluble B-vitamin, also called vitamin B7 and formerly known as vitamin H or coenzyme R.
It is composed of a ureido ring fused with a tetrahydrothiophene ring. A valeric acid substituent is attached to one of the carbon atoms of the tetrahydrothiophene ring. Biotin is a coenzyme for carboxylase enzymes, involved in the synthesis of fatty acids, isoleucine, and valine, and in gluconeogenesis.
Biotin deficiency can be caused by inadequate dietary intake or inheritance of one or more inborn genetic disorders that affect biotin metabolism. Subclinical deficiency can cause mild symptoms, such as hair thinning or skin rash typically on the face. Neonatal screening for biotinidase deficiency began in the United States in 1984 and today many countries test for this disorder at birth. Individuals born prior to 1984 are unlikely to have been screened, thus the true prevalence of the disorder is unknown.