URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/313.html

Biotin

What is it?

Biotin (vitamin B7) is a vitamin found in foods like eggs, milk, and bananas. Biotin deficiency can cause thinning of the hair and a rash on the face.

Biotin is an important part of enzymes in the body that break down substances like fats, carbohydrates, and others. There isn't a good test for detecting low biotin levels, so it's usually identified by its symptoms, which include thinning hair and red scaly rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Biotin is used for biotin deficiency. It is also commonly used for hair loss, brittle nails, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Biotin supplements might interfere with some lab tests. Talk with your doctor if you are taking biotin supplements and need to have any blood tests.

How effective is it?

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 by mouth or by a shot can treat and prevent low blood levels of biotin. Up to 10 mg of biotin by mouth daily has been used to treat and prevent deficiency. A biotin shot can only be given by a healthcare provider.

Possibly ineffective for...

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS). Taking high-dose biotin by mouth does not reduce disability in people with MS. It also doesn't seem to affect the risk for relapse.
  • Rough, scaly skin on the scalp and face (seborrheic dermatitis). Taking biotin does not seem to help improve rash in infants.
There is interest in using biotin for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

How does it work?

Are there safety concerns?

When taken by mouth: Biotin is likely safe for most people when taken in doses up to 300 mg daily for up to 6 months. But it is more commonly used in lower doses of 2.5 mg daily.

When applied to the skin: Biotin is likely safe for most people when applied in cosmetic products that contain up to 0.6% biotin.

Special precautions & warnings:

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

Children: Biotin is likely safe when taken by mouth. It's been used safely in doses of 5-25 mcg daily.

An inherited condition in which the body cannot process biotin (biotinidase deficiency): People with this condition might have low levels of biotin and may need a biotin supplement.

Kidney dialysis: People receiving kidney dialysis might have low levels of biotin and may need a biotin supplement.

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 blood lab tests. 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. You may need to stop taking biotin before your blood test. Most multivitamins contain low doses of biotin, which are unlikely to interfere with blood tests. But talk to your doctor to be sure.

Are there interactions with medications?

It is not known if this product interacts with any medicines.

Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Alpha-lipoic acid
Taking alpha-lipoic acid and biotin together can reduce the absorption of both alpha-lipoic acid and biotin into the body.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
Taking biotin and vitamin B5 together can reduce the absorption of both biotin and vitamin B5 into the body.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

Small amounts of biotin are found in foods such as eggs, milk, and bananas. It's recommended that adults consume 30 mcg daily. The same amount should be consumed during pregnancy. When breast-feeding, 35 mcg should be consumed daily. Recommended amounts for children depend on age. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

Other names

Biotina, Biotine, Biotine-D, Coenzyme R, D-Biotin, Vitamin B7, Vitamin H, Vitamine B7, Vitamine H, W Factor, Cis-hexahydro-2-oxo-1H-thieno[3,4-d]-imidazole-4-valeric Acid.

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

References

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Last reviewed - 08/19/2021