Biotin - What is it & How to use

Biotin is an important component of enzymes in the body that break down certain substances like fats, carbohydrates, and others.

There isn’t a good laboratory test for detecting biotin deficiency, so this condition is usually identified by its symptoms, which include thinning of the hair (frequently with loss of hair color) and red scaly rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Nervous system symptoms include depression, exhaustion, hallucinations, and tingling of the arms and legs. There is some evidence that diabetes could result in biotin deficiency.

Effectiveness

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for BIOTIN are as follows:

Likely effective for…

  • Biotin deficiency. Taking biotin can help treat low blood levels of biotin. It can also prevent blood levels of biotin from becoming too low. Low blood levels of biotin can cause thinning of the hair and rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Other symptoms include depression, lack of interest, hallucinations, and tingling in the arms and legs. Low biotin levels can occur in people who are pregnant, who have had long-term tube feeding, who are malnourished, who have undergone rapid weight loss, or who have a specific inherited condition. Cigarette smoking might also cause low blood levels of biotin.

Possibly ineffective for…

  • Skin rash in infants (seborrheic dermatitis). Taking biotin does not seem to help improve rash in infants.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…

  • Hair loss. Taking biotin and zinc by mouth in addition to applying a steroid cream to the skin might help reduce hair loss.
  • Brittle fingernails and toenails. Taking biotin by mouth might increase the thickness of fingernails and toenails in people with brittle nails.
  • Diabetes. Some early research shows that taking biotin along with chromium might lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. However, taking biotin alone doesn’t seem to improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
  • Diabetic nerve pain. Early research shows that taking biotin by mouth or receiving it as a shot might reduce nerve pain in the legs of people with diabetes.
  • Muscle cramps. People undergoing dialysis tend to have muscle cramps. Early research shows that taking biotin by mouth might reduce muscle cramps in these people.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate biotin for these uses.

Dose

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

ADULTS

BY MOUTH:

  • General: There is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) established for biotin. The adequate intakes (AI) for biotin are 30 mcg for adults over 18 years and pregnant women, and 35 mcg for breast-feeding women.
  • Biotin deficiency: Up to 10 mg daily has been used.

CHILDREN

BY MOUTH:

  • General: There is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) established for biotin. The adequate intakes (AI) for biotin are 7 mcg for infants 0-12 months, 8 mcg for children 1-3 years, 12 mcg for children 4-8 years, 20 mcg for children 9-13 years, and 25 mcg for adolescents 14-18 years.
  • Biotin deficiency: Up to 10 mg daily has been used in infants.

Safety Concerns

Biotin is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth and appropriately or when applied to the skin as cosmetic products that contain 0.0001% to 0.6% biotin. Biotin is well tolerated when used at recommended dosages. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when given as a shot.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Biotin is POSSIBLY SAFE when used in recommended amounts during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Children: Biotin is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth and appropriately.

An inherited condition in which the body cannot process biotin (biotinidase deficiency): People with this condition might need extra biotin.

Kidney dialysis: People receiving kidney dialysis may need extra biotin. Check with your health care provider.

Smoking: People who smoke might have low biotin levels and may need a biotin supplement.

Laboratory tests: Taking biotin supplements might interfere with the results of many different lab tests that test the blood. Biotin can cause falsely high or falsely low test results. This might lead to missed or incorrect diagnoses. Tell your doctor if you are taking biotin supplements, especially if you are having lab tests done.

Interaction with medication

Minor
Be watchful with this combination.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1B1 (CYP1B1) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Biotin might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking biotin along with some medications that are changed by the liver might decrease the effects of some of these medications. Before taking biotin, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include clozapine (Clozaril), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), fluvoxamine (Luvox), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), mexiletine (Mexitil), olanzapine (Zyprexa), pentazocine (Talwin), propranolol (Inderal), tacrine (Cognex), theophylline, zileuton (Zyflo), zolmitriptan (Zomig), and others.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.