While you might want to join the obvious rush to go purchase biotin supplements to give you a beautiful and healthier hair, it is pertinent for you to pause and ask yourself how safe these supplements are.
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin which primarily functions to help our body produce energy from the foods we eat. Biotin improves the functions of a lot of organs including the brain, gut, heart, and nerves.
There are a lot of biotin supplements on the market now, including Just Potent Biotin, Eu Natural Biotin all of which promise to make your hair stronger, fuller, and healthier. But are all of these supplements safe and free of side effects?
Safety of Biotin
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), biotin is generally safe to consume and does not cause any side effects at recommended doses. We will understand the safety concerns with the use of biotin if we understand how the body handles it.
Biotin is water-soluble, which means that it flows freely in your bloodstream and readily excreted in your urine. Therefore, the body does not store biotin and it cannot be found in toxic levels in the body. This makes it a bit difficult to determine how much biotin is too much for the body.
Biotin is found in a lot of food sources such as avocados, organ meats, eggs, mushrooms, legumes, berries, and fish and these foods can provide us with the daily requirements of biotin.
Biotin supplements contain the vitamin in high doses. A doctor usually recommends taking these supplements if you have biotin deficiency or to prevent you from developing in certain situations.
People use biotin supplements for a number of reasons including to treat nerve pain, diabetes, and hair loss with no reported side effects.
The daily requirements for biotin intake are as follows:
- 5 micrograms daily for infants
- 6–8 micrograms daily for infants ages 7 months to 3 years old
- 12–20 micrograms daily for children ages 4–13 years old
- 25 micrograms for adolescents
- 30 micrograms for male and female adults over 19 years old
- 30 milligrams for pregnant women and 35 milligrams for women who are breastfeeding
Side Effects of Biotin
Biotin supplements usually contain much higher doses than the daily required doses, usually in doses of 5,000 to 10,000mcg, which many have considered safe to use.
However, some of these supplements cause certain negative effects such as stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, skin eruptions, itchiness, rashes, and in extreme cases a severe allergic pulmonary reaction. Then again, these reactions are rare.
Biotin increases the production of sebum in the skin. Although sebum helps in moisturizing the skin, it may potentiate the development of acne on the face. To avoid this effect, doctors recommend that you start taking your biotin supplements at much lower doses then work your way up as tolerated.
Other side effects of biotin include excess facial and body hair which may not be a pleasant sight especially for women.
Some people have reported that they gained a lot of weight after taking biotin supplements for a period of time. However, no study has proven that biotin causes weight gain.
There was a report of a case of an elderly woman who developed a life-threatening form of eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion after two months of using a 10,000 mcg biotin supplements and 300mg of pantothenic acid daily.
However, it is not yet established if this was a result of the combination of both vitamins or some other factor entirely.
These are the reported side effects of biotin supplements. However, it is noteworthy that biotin supplements are generally safe, with a very little risk of developing side effects. However, ensure you consult your doctor before you start taking it.