We offer Hand Sanitizers for $9.57. CLICK HERE

How to Avoid the Side Effects of Biotin Overdose

How to Avoid the Side Effects of Biotin Overdose

Is Biotin Safe?

Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is a member of the B-vitamin complex. Doses of 5,000 mcg biotin per day are often taken by people wanting more hair growth. Is 5,000 mcg of biotin per day too much? Read on to find out what the research says.

According to one study, about 38% of women complaining of hair loss are actually deficient in biotin.10 These women improved their hair growth by taking 5,000 mcg of biotin per day.

This amount is much greater than the recommended daily value of 30 mcg per day. However, since biotin is a water soluble vitamin most of the excess is excreted in urine.

Can You Take Too Much Biotin?

Several studies have found no adverse effects of 10,000–50,000 mcg/day biotin. Doses up to 200,000 mcg/day oral biotin or 20,000 mcg/day are administered intravenously in patients with biotinidase deficiency without symptoms of toxicity.11,12

Side Effects of Biotin Overdose

Despite the findings of the aforementioned studies, we have found that some side effects are possible when taking 5,000 mcg biotin daily.

If you are experiencing these symptoms be sure to double check the dosage of biotin you take daily and decrease it. You can purchase a biotin supplement with less biotin or reduce the number of times you’re taking your existing biotin supplement. For example, if the manufacturer suggests taking 1 pill everyday try taking 1 pill every other day.

1. Acne

Does biotin cause acne? The short answer is biotin can potentially contribute to acne breakouts. 

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

However, 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 

If you notice that your skin is breaking out after starting biotin, simply reduce the intake amount.

2. 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

3. 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 

These lab distortions mean that high doses of biotin can cause false positives and inaccurate measurements.

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

Side Effects of Biotin Overdose

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. 

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. 

How to Avoid 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 Should I Take a Day?

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

 

Knowing these facts about biotin can help you reduce the side effects of biotin overdose. While 5,000 mcg of biotin daily is commonly used for hair loss and even higher doses have been used without problems, some have reported acne, rashes, and skewed blood tests with high doses of biotin. Reduce your dosage of biotin if you are having these problems and avoid taking biotin for 3-4 days before blood tests.

foods high in biotin

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
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4989391/