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 can help treat low blood levels. It can also prevent blood levels from becoming too low. Low blood levels can cause thinning of the hair and rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Other symptoms include depression, lack of interest, hallucinations, and tingling in the arms and legs. Low biotin levels can occur in people who are pregnant, who have had long-term tube feeding, who are malnourished, who have undergone rapid weight loss, or who have a specific inherited condition. Cigarette smoking might also cause low blood levels.
Possibly ineffective for…
- Rough, scaly skin on the scalp and face (seborrheic dermatitis). Taking biotin does not seem to help improve rash in infants.
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…
- Patchy hair loss (alopecia areata). Taking biotin and zinc by mouth in addition to applying a steroid cream to the skin might help reduce hair loss.
- An inherited condition that affects the brain and other parts of the nervous system (biotin-thiamine-responsive basal ganglia disease). People with this condition experience episodes of altered mental state and muscle problems. Early research shows that taking biotin plus thiamine does not prevent these episodes better than taking thiamine alone. But the combination might shorten how long the episodes last when they do occur.
- Brittle nails. Taking it by mouth for up to a year might increase the thickness of fingernails and toenails in people with brittle nails.
- Diabetes. Some early research shows that taking biotin along with chromium might lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. However, taking it alone doesn’t seem to improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
- Nerve pain in people with diabetes (diabetic neuropathy). Early research shows that taking it by mouth or receiving it as a shot might reduce nerve pain in the legs of people with diabetes.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS). Some research shows that taking high-dose biotin might improve disability and vision and reduce paralysis in some people with MS. But other research has found no improvement in these outcomes.
- Muscle cramps. People receiving dialysis tend to have muscle cramps. Early research shows that taking it by mouth might reduce muscle cramps in these people.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate biotin for these uses.
Side Effects Of Biotin
- When taken by mouth: LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth appropriately. It is well tolerated when used at recommended dosages.
- When applied to the skin: LIKELY SAFE for most people when applied to the skin as cosmetic products that contain up to 0.6% biotin.
- When given as a shot: POSSIBLY SAFE when given as a shot into the muscle.
Warnings & Precautions
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Biotin is POSSIBLY SAFE when used in recommended amounts during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
- Children: Biotin is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth and appropriately.
- An inherited condition in which the body cannot process biotin (biotinidase deficiency): People with this condition might need extra biotin.
- Kidney dialysis: People receiving kidney dialysis may need extra biotin. Check with your health care provider.
- Smoking: People who smoke might have low biotin levels and may need a supplement.
- Laboratory tests: Taking 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 as you may need to stop taking it before your blood test. Most multivitamins contain low doses, which are unlikely to interfere with blood tests. But talk to your doctor to be sure.
Dosage Of Biotin
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- General: There is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) established. The adequate intakes (AI) for biotin are 30 mcg for adults over 18 years and pregnant women, and 35 mcg for breast-feeding women.
- Biotin deficiency: Up to 10 mg daily has been used.
- General: There is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) established. The adequate intakes (AI) for biotin are 7 mcg for infants 0-12 months, 8 mcg for children 1-3 years, 12 mcg for children 4-8 years, 20 mcg for children 9-13 years, and 25 mcg for adolescents 14-18 years.
- Biotin deficiency: Up to 10 mg daily has been used in infants.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.