What happens when you take too much biotin? According to experts, here’s what to know

Fact checked by Nick Blackmer

  • Biotin is a B vitamin involved in metabolism that may be beneficial for skin, hair and nails.

  • Some over-the-counter biotin supplements exceed the recommended daily dose of the micronutrient, but experts say this is rarely a cause for concern.

  • Experts recommend people concerned about their biotin intake to talk to a trusted health care professional.

Getting enough biotin is important but is it possible to get too much biotin?

Biotin, originally called vitamin H, has been recognized as a micronutrient since 1927. Since then, vitamins quickly became a popular dietary supplement.

And, supplement use still appears to be trending upward. According to 2020 research, the prevalence of biotin use increased from 0.1% of the US adult population in 1999–2000 to 2.8% in 2015–2016.

Biotin is known for its beneficial effects on the skin, and taking adequate amounts (30 micrograms per day for adults) helps other areas of health as well.

Meeting biotin needs is important for hair health, hormone health and metabolism, explains Vanessa King, MS, RDN, clinical nutrition manager for Queens Health System in Honolulu, Hawaii, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Health,

While biotin intake is worth prioritizing, too much of a good thing is likely.

Here’s how much biotin is needed, along with the side effects of taking too much.

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What is biotin?

Despite its original H nickname, biotin is a B vitamin. Now it is also known as Vitamin B7.

It is a cofactor for many enzymes involved in the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. In other words it helps the body to convert food into energy.

In addition to its effects on metabolism, biotin has been studied for its potential effects on skin health and hair growth.

King said biotin deficiency is linked to skin rashes, hair loss and brittle nails.

Some research has shown that increased biotin intake can make a meaningful difference for people with these health problems.

For example, a 2017 study of 18 people found that biotin helped improve hair and nail growth.

However, some experts say there is insufficient research to prove a link between biotin and healthy hair and nails.

“I don’t routinely recommend biotin supplementation for hair loss patients,” says Anthony Rossi, MD, a dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Health, Most studies have shown that biotin supplementation has no benefit unless someone has a laboratory-proven biotin deficiency.

According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, only case reports, not research studies, have supported claims that biotin supplements promote hair and skin health.

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Who Can Benefit from Biotin Supplements

Although research has not proven any link between biotin and stronger nails, skin and hair, B7 supplements may be worth a try.

Anecdotal reports indicate that some people experience benefits in these areas, tells Reed McClellan, MD, adjunct faculty at Harvard Medical School and founder and CEO of dermatology app Cortina. Health

Although there is no evidence to support the claim that taking biotin will help improve the health or overall appearance of your hair, nails, and growth, there are some people who find that the rate of nail or hair growth increases after taking biotin. There has been some success in supplements, he said.

Biotin deficiency is another reason you may need to take supplements.

There is such a thing as a biotin deficiency, McClellan said, but it’s not common. This deficiency is most common in pregnant women, high alcohol intake, smokers, and during malnutrition.

Bacterial imbalance in the GI tract from antibiotics or inflammatory bowel disease can also put people at risk for biotin deficiency, Rossi said.

Too much biotin may result in undesirable side effects

The recommended daily intake of biotin is 30 micrograms, but many over-the-counter supplements exceed this level.

For example, NOW Foods Extra Strength Biotin Capsules contain 10,000 micrograms, and Pure Research Liquid Biotin Drops supply 20,000 micrograms per dosage.

So, are such high levels dangerous?

In general, no. There is no established upper limit of toxic levels for biotin, partly because the body expels what it cannot use.

It’s difficult to consume too much biotin from supplements because it is a water-soluble vitamin, and will be detoxified through the urine if consumed in excess, McClellan said.

Again, this does not mean that you will not experience any side effects from overdosing on biotin.

Some people report nausea or gastrointestinal upset, and sleep complications or dehydration may also occur, McClellan said.

According to King, too much biotin supplementation may also interfere with the results of certain laboratory tests, such as thyroid and troponin.

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How to Get Enough Biotin from Your Diet

Most people can get enough biotin from a complete diet.

A surprising range of foods, both plant and animal, contain this nutrient.

To make sure your intake is adequate, King recommends paying attention to the following:

If you’re concerned that your diet isn’t giving you the biotin you need, talk to your doctor or registered dietitian about the possibility of supplementation.

Although they may recommend a supplement to help you reach your daily 30 micrograms, you may not even need to use the extremely high levels of many commercial supplements.

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