Biotin is a popular supplement that is often considered to be a modern wonder drug, thanks to the positive effects it can have on the strength and growth of hair, nails and skin. Dozens of studies have confirmed the positive impact of biotin for hair growth, but some medical professionals have expressed concern about the dangers of ingesting too much biotin on a daily basis.
Biotin supplements have a host of high profile celebrity fans, but it is likely that many of them are taking the drug unnecessarily. Deficiency in the vitamin combination is a relatively rare ailment that can lead to dry skin, hair loss and even fatigue and depression. If you are not biotin deficient then you do not need to take the supplements, although they help to enhance your appearance.
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it doesn’t stay in the body for long after being ingested, however if you take too much of the supplement each day then a dangerous excess could build up.
It’s important to be cautious if you choose to add a biotin supplement to your diet, and to be fully aware of the side effects and risks you could be exposing yourself to.
What are the side effects of taking too much Biotin?
It’s important to note that the majority of people get all of the biotin that they need from their everyday diet. You will find biotin in foods such as almonds, whole grains, eggs, sardines, pecan, dried fruits, cucumber, oats, strawberries, cauliflower, cow milk, and brewer’s yeast, which are relatively common foods most people include in their day to day diet.
If you don’t incorporate these foods into your diet and you do choose to add a biotin supplement to improve the condition of your skin and hair then you should be aware of the side effects of ingesting too much of the vitamin
Here is a comprehensive list of the most common side effects you may experience if you take too much Biotin:
- Acne. Too much biotin can lead to cystic acne, particularly around the jaw line and on the chin. This is because biotin increases sebum production, which will increase skin ruptures and outbreaks.
- Pregnancy complications. Don’t take Biotin during pregnancy. Although they have been no formalised studies on mother and unborn child to support the assertion, anecdotal evidence shows that taking high doses of biotin during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage. As a result it is recommended that you stop taking the supplement as soon as you realise you are pregnant.
- Thyroid Problems. Ingesting high amounts of Biotin can cause thyroid-type symptoms, and can lead to false positives in blood work tests for thyroid disease.
- Nausea. When you begin taking biotin it is likely that you will experience some mild nausea. Many users find this nausea decreases over time but if your symptoms don’t diminish then it could be a sign that you’re taking too much of your biotin supplement each day.
- Drug Interactions. If you are already taking any regular medications then you should be very careful about introducing biotin. It can cause anti-seizure and cholesterol-lowering drugs to work less efficiently and can also negatively impact on drugs designed to control diabetes.
- Eosinophilic Pleuropericardial Effusion Although very rare, it is worth mentioning that a case was reported of biotin supplement consumption leading to Eosinophilic Pleuropericardial Effusion. This is a rare and life threatening condition which causes a severe reaction resulting in blood and air entering the pleural cavity space around the lungs, causing a major pulmonary infection. If you notice changes to your breathing when taking biotin supplements then you should stop taking them and seek out a physician immediately.
Is it possible to overdose on Biotin?
It is possible to negatively impact your health and overdose on Biotin, which is why it’s so important to ensure that you don’t exceed the daily recommended dose of the vitamin.
Knowing the signs of a biotin overdose can help you to decide when it’s time to stop taking the supplement. If you accidentally take too much biotin or if you begin the experience any of the following signs and symptoms then stop taking Biotin and seek advice from your physician:
- The most common symptom of a Biotin overdose is a skin allergy. You may develop a rash all over your body that causes your skin to become red, blotchy and itchy. If this rash spreads to your throat and chest then it could lead to potentially life threatening Anaphylaxis. This is a respiratory disorder that negatively impacts your ability to breathe, and needs immediate emergency care.
- Raised blood glucose levels are another potentially life threatening side effect of ingesting too much Biotin. Biotin increases the amount of fatty acids your body contains and these acids, in turn, are turned into glucose. If you suffer from diabetes, then raising your blood sugar in this way can be particularly dangerous.
- Other less life threatening but equally disturbing signs of biotin overdose include increased thirst, suffering from sleep disturbances such as difficulty in sleeping or insomnia, and an increased need to use the bathroom. This could take the form of either excessive urination or chronic diarrhea.
Biotin safety dosage
So how much biotin should you be taking each day if you wish to avoid a biotin overdose or suffering from unwanted side effects of taking the vitamin?
The general daily recommended dosage of biotin is 2.5 mg (or 2,500 mcg) if you wish to receive the benefits of the supplement without any unwanted side effects. Biotin should be used with caution and you can reduce the risk of experiencing any negative side effects by taking your supplement with plenty of water.
When choosing the strength of supplement to take, it’s important to consider the amount of biotin you will introduce to your system via your diet on a day to day basis, and adjust the amount of additional biotin you take accordingly.
Biotin supplements are commonly found in three compositions—10 mcg, 50 mcg, and 100 mcg. Consider the supplement you choose very carefully.
If you want to have long and luscious hair then biotin is a great supplement to introduce to your diet, but it should be used with caution. It is important to ensure that you don’t take more than the recommended daily dosage of the supplement, and that you cease consumption if you begin to experience any negative side effects.
Biotin has the potential to help you look and feel great, but it is a drug we recommend that you use with care!