Biotin vitamin health benefit, what is the optimal daily intake
Does it work for hair loss? Dosage of 600 mcg each pill
November 12 2016 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Biotin is a B vitamin that functions as a coenzyme for carbon dioxide transfer and is essential for fat and carbohydrate metabolism. It is often found in multivitamin products. This vitamin is also available at a 5 mg dose but only those with a confirmed deficiency would need these high dosages. 5 mg is the same as 5,000 mcg micrograms.

What is your opinion of biotin 5 mg dosage?
   I really don't see why such high amounts are needed except in rare cases. I do not see the need to take more than 400 to 1000 mcg of biotin a day. Biotin 5 mg equals 5000 mcg.

What's the highest mcg of biotin, a person can take? I was taking 10,000 mcg a day but now I'm taking keratin for hair that has 5000 mcg of biotin so I stopped the 10,000 when I began taking the other.
   A. I am concerned of long term unknown health risks if too high a dose is taken for long periods.

Is there any good reason to take biotin supplements? A friend of mine started taking them for her hair and nails and to improve her metabolism.
   Unless a person has an unusual diet that makes them deficient in this vitamin, or has a serious medical condition that leads to deficiencies of B vitamins, it is not likely that supplementation would be of much benefit.

Function of biotin, research
Besides its role as a carboxylase prosthetic group, biotin regulates gene expression and has a wide repertoire of effects on systemic processes. The vitamin regulates genes that are critical in the regulation of intermediary metabolism: Biotin has stimulatory effects on genes whose action favors hypoglycemia (insulin, insulin receptor, pancreatic and hepatic glucokinase); on the contrary, biotin decreases the expression of hepatic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, a key gluconeogenic enzyme that stimulates glucose production by the liver. The findings that biotin regulates the expression of genes that are critical in the regulation of intermediary metabolism are in agreement with several observations that indicate that biotin supply is involved in glucose and lipid homeostasis. Biotin deficiency has been linked to impaired glucose tolerance and decreased utilization of glucose. On the other hand, the diabetic state appears to be ameliorated by pharmacological doses of biotin. Likewise, pharmacological doses of biotin appear to decrease plasma lipid concentrations and modify lipid metabolism. The effects of biotin on carbohydrate metabolism and the lack of toxic effects of the vitamin at pharmacological doses suggest that biotin could be used in the development of new therapeutics in the treatment of hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia, an area that we are actively investigating. Biotin synthase, a member of the SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) family, converts dethiobiotin into biotin.

I just want to make sure biotin is okay for a diabetic.
   We don't see any reason why it would not be advised in someone who has diabetes as long as the dose is reasonable.

Hair growth or nail health
Does biotin vitamin really help in hair growth or nail health? I had lost much hair at the crown many years back due to low iron stores and stress. The situation didn't aggravate nor did hair regrowth really took place. For the past 1 year, when my hair got terribly dry, clumps of it will come off everyday.
   I am not aware of any good human studies that indicate taking a biotin supplement in those who have a normal diet or in those who do not have a genetic problem with biotin metabolism will lead to hair growth.

Familial Uncombable Hair Syndrome: Ultrastructural Hair Study and Response to Biotin.
Pediatric Dermatol. 2007.
We report a family affected to the fourth generation by uncombable hair syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by unruly, dry, blond hair with a tangled appearance. The family pedigree strongly supports the hypothesis of autosomal dominant inheritance; some members of the family had, apart from uncombable hair, minor signs of atopy and ectodermal dysplasia, such as abnormalities of the nails. The diagnosis was confirmed by means of extensive scanning electron microscopy. A trial with oral biotin 5 mg/day was started on two young patients with excellent results as regards the hair appearance, although scanning electron microscopy did not show structural changes in the hair. After a 2-year-period of follow-up, hair normality was maintained without biotin, while nail fragility still required biotin supplementation for control.

I take biotin everyday day for hair growth. Is it okay to take everyday 5,000 mg? I 'm a big fan of your newsletters.
   I do not feel comfortable people taking these massive amounts every day for long periods. Such safety studies are not available.

Food sources
Biotin is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It is widely available in foods, particularly egg yolk, soybeans, cereal, legumes, and nuts. Bacteria in the gut also make it. The RDA ranges from 30 to 100 micrograms.
   A study from Switzerland demonstrated a 25 percent increase in nail plate thickness in patients with brittle nails who received biotin supplementation. Analysis of all visits to a nail consultation practice over a six-month period revealed forty-four patients with this condition who had been prescribed the B-complex vitamin biotin. Of these, thirty-five who took daily supplementation were subjectively evaluated. Twenty-two of thirty-five (63 percent) showed clinical improvement and thirteen (37 percent) reported no change in their condition. The results of this small, retrospective study suggest a positive response to biotin in the treatment of brittle nails in some patients.

Food Sources for Biotin B Vitamin
Egg, large (1) 33%
Wheat germ (1/4 cup) 20%
Oatmeal, cooked (1/4 cup) 17%

Biotin deficiency
Raw egg white contains a biotin antagonist, avidin. Prolonged consumption of raw egg whites may result in dermatitis and glossitis, which respond rapidly to biotin supplementation. Biotin deficiency has also occurred during long-term total parenteral nutrition without supplementary biotin.
   Marginal biotin deficiency may be a human teratogen. Propionyl-coenzyme A carboxylase activity in peripheral blood lymphocytes is a sensitive indicator of biotin status.

Biotin and Pregnancy
Recent studies of biotin status during pregnancy provide evidence that a marginal degree of biotin deficiency develops in a substantial proportion of women during normal pregnancy. Several lines of evidence suggest that although the degree of biotin deficiency is not severe enough to produce the classic cutaneous and behavioral manifestations of biotin deficiency, the deficiency is severe enough to produce metabolic derangements in women and may be teratogenic. In studies of mice, a similar degree of biotin deficiency induces characteristic fetal malformations at a high rate.

Marginal biotin deficiency during normal pregnancy.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2002.
Biotin deficiency is teratogenic in several mammalian species. Approximately 50% of pregnant women have an abnormally increased urinary excretion of 3-hydroxyisovaleric acid (3-HIA), which probably reflects decreased activity of the biotin-dependent enzyme methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase. However, increased 3-HIA excretion could result from pregnancy per se (eg, from an effect of pregnancy on renal handling of organic acids). We tested the hypothesis that biotin supplementation significantly decreases 3-HIA excretion in pregnant women with abnormally increased 3-HIA excretion. Twenty-six pregnant women with increased 3-HIA excretion were studied in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial; 10 women were studied during early pregnancy (6-17 wk gestation) and 16 women during late pregnancy (21-37 wk gestation). Urine samples were collected before and after 14 days of supplementation with 300 microg biotin / day or placebo. This study provides evidence that the increased excretion of 3-HIA seen frequently in normal pregnancy reflects reduced biotin status. The conclusion that marginal biotin deficiency occurs frequently in the first trimester further raises concern about potential human teratogenicity.

In vivo biotin supplementation at a pharmacologic dose decreases proliferation rates of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and cytokine release.
J Nutr. 2001.
Theoretically, vitamin supplements may either enhance or reduce protein synthesis and proliferation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). In the present study, we determined whether administration of a pharmacologic dose of biotin affects proliferation rates of PBMC and cytokine release. Healthy adults ingested 3.1 micromol biotin / day for 14 d; blood and urine were collected pre- and post supplementation. PBMC were isolated by density gradient and incubated with the mitogen concanavalin A for up to 3 d. At timed intervals during mitogen stimulation, we measured the following: 1) cellular uptake of [(3)H]thymidine to determine proliferation rates; 2) concentrations of various cytokines released into the medium; and 3) the percentages of PBMC subsets as judged by CD surface markers. Biotin supplementation caused a significant decrease of PBMC proliferation. Overall, this study provides evidence that administration of pharmacologic doses of biotin for 14 d decreases PBMC proliferation and synthesis of interleukin-1beta and interleukin-2.

Bioavailability of biotin given orally to humans in pharmacologic doses.
Am J Clinical Nutr. 1999.
Patients with carboxylase deficiency are treated with pharmacologic doses of biotin. We sought to determine the bioavailability of biotin at pharmacologic doses. Biotin was administered orally (2, 8, or 81 micromol) or intravenously to 6 healthy adults in a crossover design with > or =2 wk between each biotin administration. Before and after each administration, timed 24-h urine samples were collected. Urinary biotin and biotin metabolites were analyzed by an HPLC avidin-binding assay. Urinary recoveries of biotin plus metabolites were similar (approximately 50%) after the 2 largest oral doses and the 1 intravenous dose, suggesting 100% bioavailability of the 2 largest oral doses. For unexplained reasons, the apparent recovery of the smallest oral dose was about twice that of the other doses. For all 4 doses, biotin accounted for >50% of the total of biotin and biotin metabolites in urine. Bisnorbiotin (13-23%), biotin-d,l-sulfoxide (5-13%), bisnorbiotin methyl ketone (3-9%), and biotin sulfone accounted for the remainder. The percentage excretion of biotin was greater when biotin was administered intravenously and for the largest oral dose than for the 2 smallest oral doses. Our data provide evidence that oral biotin is completely absorbed even when pharmacologic doses are administered. Biotin metabolites account for a substantial portion of total urinary excretion and must be considered in bioavailability studies. We speculate that renal losses of biotin (as a percentage of the dose administered) are moderately elevated when pharmacologic doses of biotin are administered.

Lipoic acid - biotin combination pill
I am happy to have found your R lipoic isomer but I was told to always take it with biotin. Do you have a combination r lipoic biotin?
   We have looked into this matter and we cannot find any research that indicates biotin is needed when humans supplement with lipoic acid. Taking biotin with lipoic acid appears to be a marketing ploy by those who are making a combination lipoic and biotin pill. Nevertheless, there is multivitamin product called MultiVit Rx that has biotin in it if you wish to take a capsule a day.

Is biotin okay to take daily with coQ10 and saw palmetto?
   As long as the dosages are kept reasonable and breaks from supplements are taken.

I have noticed that some biotin supplements just say biotin and others say d-biotin. Is there a difference?
   We did a search on medical websites and could not find an easy explanation for any difference. It appears from our preliminary readings that d biotin converts into biotin and for practical purposes there may not be much of a difference in terms of taking a biotin supplement. Both D-biotin and biotin appear to have the same chemical structure C1OH16N2O3S. As of 2014, we can't be certain of this.

For depression, energy, mood and blood sugar?
I am biostatistician and have a keen interest in complementary and alternative medicine. I spent four years at the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science where I helped graduate students design their dissertation studies in yoga, breathing and meditation and managed a homeopathic, Ayurvedic, and herbal pharmacy. In my 30 years involved with alternative medicine, I have never seen people respond as strongly and widely as they do to high dose biotin (3-5 mg). I have been encouraging many researchers to explore this for many indications, though many expressed much interest, to date no one has followed up. however, several of my practitioner friends have had some success (for depression, energy, mood, and blood sugar). I am hoping to encourage you as well to look into this. I became interested in the potential benefit of biotin (or vitamin B-7) supplementation when my 85 year old mother started taking it for her thinning hair 2 years ago year. My mother found that she could play tennis again after having given it up at age 81 (she was no longer breathless) and could now run up stair without getting winded. I looked into biotin further and saw that it is essential in the TCA cycle as a co-factor in the production of ATP. I decided to try it for my Chronic Fatigue. It very quickly (1 week) cured my fatigue, hypoglycemia and depression of 30 years. Now my mother is 87 and we have been playing tennis 3 times per week for the past 2 years. (Note this is relatively strenuous tennis as I played number 1 for Cornell in the 60ís). Since then about 60 friends and coworkers have tried it and at about a third have found dramatic results (ranging from relief from fatigue, depression, hypoglycemia, and/or diabetes and some had desired weight loss and reduction in carbohydrate cravings) and 3/4 saw some benefit. Most everyone notices an increased sense of well-being. Potential areas of research are the elderly and middle aged subjects who have low energy, diabetes and reactive hypoglycemia, peripheral neuropathy, and PTSD (one of my friends sons who had 2 tours in Afghanistan said it helped him significantly). I have a very strong suspicion that it would effectively treat pre- and post-partum depression and gestational diabetes in a significant number of cases. Note that it estimated at least a 1/3 of pregnant women are biotin deficient.

Use with prescription medications
Gan To Kagaku Ryoho. 2014. Prospective study of biotin treatment in patients with erythema due to gefitinib or erlotinib. Gefitinib anderlotinib, which are epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)tyrosine kinase inhibitors(TKIs), have been used for the treatment of inoperable and recurrent non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. These drugs are known to cause a skin rash, one of the major side effects, at a high frequency. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, andit belongs to the vitamin B family. It is well known that biotin deficiency increases the risk of skin dermatitis. We administered biotin to four patients with skin rash, all of whom were treatedwith either gefitinib or erlotinib and were unable to be treated by a steroid ointment alone. In all patients, administration of biotin reduced the skin rash. Surprisingly, in 2 patients in whom EGFR-TKI therapy was discontinued because of the skin rash, the administration of biotin allowed for long-term gefitinib or erlotinib treatment.

The condition I have is very rare and really does not have a name. It is referred to as Functional Biotin Deficiency, and the nearest we can get to is that the recycling of Biotin does not work in me and creates cell death due to incorrect cell metabolism. Which part of the cycle does not work we do not know. I became very weak, fine motor control was poor and poor memory starting when I was 58yrs old following a bad Whooping Cough infection and was getting worse, before it was diagnosed and still the diagnosis was by default and treatment suggested to try and see if things improved. I started taking Biotin 3 mgms and then 5 mgms per day. Things did not get worse, so continued and slowly raised the dose to 40 mgms per day. There were slight improvements but still a great deal of muscle pain and tiredness, and walking decreased. But life was certainly better. Then we found that the Linus Institute had used 200mgms daily without side effects on a patient for 2 years. I have never been able to find out any more about that patient except that it was a female with a genetic condition. I had a lot of physical therapy and broad vitamin supplements and mineral replacements . I increased Biotin to 60mgs Biotin 8 hrly and definitely saw some improvement. Then with more internet searching and GPís input we decided to try a slow release version. For Two and a half years I have taken 60mgms slow release 8 hourly, with a few top ups following extra busy days. (Total daily at 180mgms with a 15mgm top up some times). The improvements have been certainly much better, and gradually I have had repair of muscles, and general body effects. Last year I moved to be nearer my daughter and her family and had to set up all new support systems and therapist. I still walk with 2 canes or a walker most of the time, but have short sessions of no support for walking. This is a genetic condition of varies in levels in my family although I am the first to have a specific diagnosis. We have a partial Journal of my great grandfather, and a medical historian, believes that this is what he had. He died in 1882 as an emaciated individual aged 43yrs. We know he had been eating well. I have found no side effects of the long term use of this high slow release Biotin. The difference between the slow release and the standard release is quite remarkable for me, and although very expensive as I have to have it made at a compounding chemist, I would always believe it is worth the cost. I am a 70year old female born with what was called ichthyosis and diminished sweat glands, the same as my mother. Mumís never really changed in her 92yrs, but muscle pain level decreased, less flakey skin and mobility improved when given Biotin in a small dose for the last 5 years of her life.I am a degreed nurse with a large amount of my early career in Midwifery and the last 20 years was in Geriatrics. I have been retired 10years. I had to retire 3 years early due to this condition.

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Biotin is a water soluble vitamin. It is required by our bodies due to its involvement in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism.

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