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How to Avoid the Side Effects of Biotin Overdose

How to Avoid the Side Effects of Biotin Overdose

Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is a member of the B-vitamin complex. It is a water-soluble vitamin found in a variety of foods. Biotin is often promoted for its potential to support healthy skin, hair, and nails.1

Some people will need to take extra biotin while others will only need the recommended dosage. If you are the later, read on to find out how much biotin you need daily.

Can You Take Too Much Biotin?

Taking biotin can be helpful for better hair, skin, and nails. However, it is possible to overdose on biotin. Read on to learn more about biotin and how you can avoid a biotin overdose. 

1. Take the Recommended Dosage of Biotin

Biotin is a naturally occurring vitamin found in small amounts in food. Biotin overdoses are usually caused by supplements. Supplements can contain just biotin or it can be combined with multivitamins, and B-complex supplements.2 

How Much Biotin is Too Much?

Taking too much biotin can result in side effects. So you ask "How much biotin should I take?"  It is important to get enough biotin every day, but the actual dose you require depends on your age and health needs. The recommended dosages from the National Institute of Health based on life stage are as follows: 

Life Stage

Recommended Amount per day

Birth to 6 months

5 mcg

Infants 7–12 months

6 mcg

Children 1–3 years

8 mcg

Children 4–8 years

12 mcg

Children 9–13 years

20 mcg

Teens 14–18 years

25 mcg

Adults 19+ years

30 mcg

Pregnant teens and women

30 mcg

Breastfeeding teens and women

35 mcg2

 

Please note that there are some circumstances that you will need more than the recommended dosage of biotin such as poor hair, skin, or nail growth. We have outlined more situations where you may consider taking more biotin here.

 

2. Take Biotin Supplements with Food

Taking your biotin supplements following a meal can increase the amount absorbed. Stomach acid levels increase during digestion and these acids help to break down the supplement, making the biotin much easier to absorb. All of this can help to reduce any gastrointestinal side effects from taking too much biotin.3 

3. Keep Yourself Hydrated

Biotin is water-soluble, meaning that it dissolves in water. Your body takes as much biotin as it needs, and once you have enough, any excess biotin exits your body through your urine. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in your body, which is why you need a constant supply of them. Keeping yourself hydrated can help to regulate your biotin and keep you from overdosing. Staying hydrated is always a good idea in general.4

4. Know the Biotin Rich Foods

Food

mcg per
serving

Beef liver, cooked, 3 ounces

30.8

Egg, whole, cooked

10.0

Salmon, cooked 3 ounces

5.0

Pork chop, cooked, 3 ounces

3.8

Hamburger patty, cooked, 3 ounces

3.8

Sunflower seeds, roasted, ¼ cup

2.6

Sweet potato, cooked, ½ cup

2.4

Almonds, roasted, ¼ cup

1.5

foods high in biotin

5. Understand What Side Effects to Look for

Biotin is a safe and nontoxic vitamin, even in large doses. Side effects are usually minimal and not life threatening. Below is a list of some common biotin side effects. 

Side Effects of Biotin Overdose

Below is a list of common side effects from taking too much biotin. If you are experiencing these symptoms be sure to double check the dosage of biotin you take daily and decrease it.

Side Effects of Biotin Overdose

Acne

At the right dosage, biotin can support clear, healthy skin. Biotin plays a role in the production of fatty acids that can help to nourish your skin and combat dry, unbalanced skin. Biotin was originally thought to only be effective when consumed orally but the topical administration of biotin is able to increase blood levels of biotin.5 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that biotin overdose increases activity in your sebaceous glands, resulting in more sebum production. Sebum is a natural oil that generally helps to moisturize and protect skin, but too much of it may clog pores, resulting in cystic acne breakouts.6

If you notice that your skin is breaking out after starting biotin, simply reduce the intake amount. If the manufacturer suggests taking 1 pill everyday try taking 1 pill every other day.

Redness and Itchy Skin

Some people who have overdosed on biotin report skin rashes. These come as a result of the immune system considering biotin a foreign threat and initiating an immune response.7

Distorted Lab Results 

The FDA has found that high doses of biotin can actually skew or distort lab results. In some cases, too much biotin will cause false highs on tests, while in others, the vitamin may cause test results to read low. 

Excess biotin has also been shown to distort tests for: 

  • Thyroid
  • Pregnancy
  • Heart failure
  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Certain forms of cancer8 

In a review of 374 tests, 221 were found to use biotin assays in some way. About 80 of those tests also came with indications that the results could be skewed by excess biotin in patient’s blood. Researchers continue to study how biotin interferes with tests and are developing recommendations and procedures for safer and more reliable testing.8 

If you are planning to get a routine blood test while taking high doses of biotin it is best to avoid taking biotin for 3-4 days beforehand.9

Biotin Side Effects Are Easily Reversed

The good news is that biotin is water-soluble, meaning it breaks down in water and can easily exit your body through your sweat or urine. This generally makes overdosing on biotin difficult. 

In conclusion, biotin overdoses are not common because it is a water-soluble vitamin that is excreted through urine. Side effects should go away shortly after discontinuing use. Biotin can skew blood tests so if you plan on going to the doctor’s office to get a blood test, stop using biotin supplements for 3-4 days beforehand. 

Sources: 

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318724.php
  2. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-Consumer/
  3. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/should-multivitamins-taken-food-empty-stomach-11852.html
  4. https://www.justvitamins.co.uk/blog/what-are-water-soluble-vitamins/#.W8KPdRNKhTY
  5. https://examine.com/supplements/biotin/
  6. https://intothegloss.com/2015/06/effects-of-biotin/
  7. https://www.bustle.com/p/7-unexpected-dangerous-side-effects-of-taking-biotin-9205383
  8. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/news/20171129/fda-warns-biotin-can-distort-lab-tests
  9. https://www.pharmacistanswers.com/questions/thyroid-function-tests-while-taking-biotin

 

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