As such, it is included in many skin and hair vitamins and food supplements designed to support hair health, as well as being available as a solo nutritional supplement.
New research has shown that, whilst biotin – also known as vitamin b7 – has many positive qualities, people who are undergoing certain medical tests could find their biotin intake may interfere with blood work results.
As such, it is necessary for people taking high doses of biotin, or food supplements which include biotin, to let their doctor know this as a precaution if they are recommended for any blood tests.
Tell your doctor about biotin supplement use
The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK advises that patients who need to have a blood test for any reason should inform their doctor if they are taking medicines or supplements.
- Troponin elevates in early hours of myocardial infarction – biotin lowers the level;
- Thyroid hormones – biotin could cause unpredictable effects (lowering or elevating);
- Biotin affects tests for heart failure, pregnancy, cancer and iron-deficiency anaemia;
- Parathyroid hormone (PTH), cortisol, FSH and luteinizing hormone and vitamin D
The normal daily intake of biotin is 0.05mg. The recommended dose in relation to helping maintain normal healthy hair growth is up to 10mg per day, and extremely large doses of up to 600mg id biotin can be used for multiple sclerosis. The serum level of biotin remains high for between one and three days after taking the dose. It is therefore recommended to stop taking biotin a week before the above blood tests.“
For lower dose supplements, for instance Belgravia food supplements Hair Vitalics for Men and Hair Vitalics for Women, which each contain 200 micrograms (0.2mg) of biotin, the advice to tell your doctor at the time the blood work is recommended, applies. It is then up to them to decide whether it is necessary or not for you to stop taking your supplements ahead of time, and – if so – how far in advance you need to stop taking them.
If a high dose biotin supplement is taken then it is generally advisable to stop taking the supplement one week before having a blood test, concludes Dr Elena.
It may be helpful to either bring your supplements to doctors appointments with you, have a link to their website handy, or to take a photograph of the supplement’s packaging and keep it on your mobile phone so you can show this information to the doctor.
Whilst it is important to be aware of this potential issue, it should not put off anyone from eating biotin-rich foods or taking biotin-containing supplements, in moderation.
The UK Department of Health and Social Care advises “0.9mg or less a day of biotin in supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.”
Biotin is made naturally by the bacteria in the bowel and has many benefits. It helps the body to break down fat, convert food to energy and maintain the normal healthy functioning and quality of skin, nails and hair.
It has been investigated as a therapeutic treatment for various medical issues, including Male Pattern Baldness – in early 2019 researchers discovered men with genetic hair loss may benefit from additional biotin and zinc – diabetic nerve pain and muscle cramps caused by dialysis.
In order to safely reap the benefits of biotin, it is important to keep your intake – through food alone or a mixture of food and dietary supplements – within the recommended allowance. Although rare, biotin overdose can occur in some cases, whilst biotin deficiency can lead to various problems, including hair loss.
If you are in any doubt as to whether your vitamin levels are out of balance, or if a particular food supplement is right for you, always consult your doctor or other medical or healthcare professional, such as a pharmacist, beforehand.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.