Biotin Update

Feb 21, 2018

What is biotin? Biotin is an essential nutrient that supports the health of the skin, nerves, digestive tract, metabolism, and cells. Most people need between 30-300 mcg per day of this vitamin which is found in meats, eggs, fish, seeds, nuts, sweet potatoes, and organ meats. Deficiency is extremely rare, and has never been reported in a healthy person. Also known as Vitamin B-7, it is water soluble which means it is unlikely to be stored in toxic levels.

Despite some advertisement and claims, there is minimal evidence that biotin will support hair growth in a person who does not have a deficiency. Recent reports from the FDA have cautioned patients against taking mega doses (>1000 mcg per day) due to interference with other laboratory studies.

Falsely elevated or falsely low levels of thyroid levels, troponin, vitamin D levels, and BNP have been reported with high doses of Biotin. This can lead to mis-diagnosis or failure to diagnose Graves’ disease, myocardial infarction, or congestive heart failure. At least one person has died, according to the FDA report.

If you are taking “Hair, skin, and nails” vitamins, you are likely taking mega-doses of biotin.  This is a vitamin that has historically been recommended at SC Obesity, but we are no longer recommending that bariatric surgery patients take these vitamins. Hair loss could potentially be from a nutrient deficiency, but the only way to know is to have lab work done.


Patients should not take biotin or “hair, skin and nails vitamins” separate from their standard vitamin supplementation unless recommended to do so by their health care provider. Taking high doses of Biotin will not prevent hair loss. Biotin is not harmful but taking mega-doses could lead to difficulty diagnosing or treating other health problems.  If you have any questions about taking Biotin, please call your dietitian at 791-2828.

Email me at Marlena Farley

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