Biotin is a popular supplement to help improve skin, hair, or nails. But when taking any supplement, you may be wondering if there are side effects to taking biotin. The quick answer is that supplemented in the right amount, there are minor to few side effects.
Before we dive into the possible side effects of biotin, let’s first look at what it is in the first place. Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin present in many different foods and crucial for converting food into energy. The vitamin is sometimes called vitamin H or vitamin B7.
Energy creation is a complex process to a certain extent, but biotin’s role is clear. It works with glucose and fatty acids to help break them down to form energy. But if you’re low on biotin, you have less energy.
As mentioned, biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning your body doesn’t store excess amounts, so you need to get your biotin from foods or supplements. Food that contains rich levels of biotin are the following:
Eating a healthy diet usually results in optimal levels of biotin. But if you take too much biotin, there can be some minor side effects.
Most doctors and healthcare professionals agree that no adverse side effects usually occur when taking it in the recommended daily dose. The Mayo Clinic recommends up to 10 micrograms per day.
But several studies have also shown that taking biotin at high levels poses no risk. The reason is that as a water-soluble B vitamin, your body eliminates excess amounts through urination and defecation. So, in the end, extra levels aren’t present in the body to cause any harm. Still, some adverts effects may appear when taking a continuous high dose for an extended period.
There have been cases when consuming extremely high levels of biotin can result in false or off lab results. The common tests for this are when looking at the thyroid hormone levels or vitamin D levels. Biotin may interfere with theses hormone levels, causing them to appear abnormally high or even normal when they aren’t optimal at all.
The National Health Institute in the United Kingdom said that taking biotin at high levels may result in lab tests indicating Graves disease or hyperthyroidism. Incorrect results can even happen for children taking high biotin amounts. In some cases, biotin even interfered with lab results when taking low doses.
This means that if you schedule lab tests, it’s essential to inform your doctor or healthcare practitioner that you’re taking biotin. You may even need to stop taking it before your laboratory tests to ensure accurate results.
Biotin is safe to take, but it’s a potent vitamin that may interfere with certain medications. In addition, some medicines may already contain biotin, so supplementing may result in a too high daily dose. If you’re already being prescribed medication, speak to your doctor before to ensure there won’t be any interference or problem with adding a biotin supplement.
Some medications that may be particularly problematic are those to prevent seizures. For example, anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine, primidone, and phenobarbital may interact poorly with biotin. Researchers believe that anticonvulsants limit biotin absorption in the stomach, which results in not breaking down molecules into smaller ones.
While rare and usually due to extremely high doses, biotin supplementation can cause possible skin rashes, interference with insulin release, kidney problems, and an upset stomach. To avoid these outcomes, take the recommended daily dose and follow the advice of your doctor.
A true biotin deficiency is rare, but it can happen. Or you may need a boost to help improve your skin, hair, or nails. If you do have low biotin levels, you may undergo one or more of the following signs:
The signs and symptoms of low biotin affect each person differently, and for some, the experience may be mild or extreme.
If you’re biotin deficient, taking a supplement can positively affect certain medical conditions, from boosting hair and nails to helping obese patients with blood sugar regulation.
In the last few years, you may have noticed the ingredient “biotin” being advertised on your favorite shampoo. The reason is that some evidence suggests that biotin improves hair strength, thickness, and amount.
When you have a lack of biotin in your body, it can lead to hair loss. So, adding back in the vitamin H or B7 helps encourage hair growth.
Brittle nails are constantly breaking or cracking. Changing your diet and other lifestyle factors may help improve the quality, but so can biotin. It helps stop the constant splitting and cracking to produce more robust, more resilient nails.
Poor blood sugar regulation can result in different diseases, such as diabetes. Diabetes is a severe condition affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. In some studies, taking biotin helped with glucose control for diabetics.
When you’re hypoglycemic, your body needs more sugar to change into energy. Biotin assists with energy conversion and low-level sugar levels may result in hypoglycemia. This can happen when you skip meals, eat too little, or react with specific medications. Research shows that biotin helps balance blood sugar and insulin.
High cholesterol usually occurs when you have an unhealthy diet, don’t exercise regularly, and engage in poor lifestyle choices. Prevention happens when you change these factors. But what also may improve cholesterol levels is biotin supplementation.
Taking biotin can help with many health conditions, but taken in extremely high doses, it can have minor side effects. But, overall, biotin is considered safe to take and comes without a prescription.