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Biotin supplement review

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Conversely, one study reported that there were no improvements in patients taking biotin supplements for one year, and the researchers suggest that the biotin may have even caused some patients to worsen, which may have been a result of the increased metabolic demands placed on the nervous system due to increase biotin levels.

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What is biotin?

Biotin supplement review – What are the claims?

Although complete biotin deficiency is very rare, there is some evidence that ‘marginal biotin deficiency’ may occur, particularly during pregnancy. In addition, high-dose biotin has been studied as a potential treatment for some medical conditions.

Biotin deficiency during pregnancy

Not only has biotin deficiency been identified as a possibility during pregnancy, but research has found evidence to suggest that the biotin deficiency that occurs during pregnancy may be teratogenic. The results of a research study of pregnant women suggested that increasing biotin intake to 2-3 times the adequate intake amount may be necessary during pregnancy.

Biotin for Multiple Sclerosis

A clinical trial evaluating the effects of high-dose biotin in patients with multiple sclerosis reported clinical improvements in the majority of patients. In this study, patients were given 100-300mg doses of biotin per day. The study reported that these doses of biotin were associated with diarrhea in some patients, but that the treatment appeared to be safe. The researchers suggest that biotin might be beneficial for multiple sclerosis since it is involved in the processes necessary for the production of myelin.

Conversely, one study reported that there were no improvements in patients taking biotin supplements for one year, and the researchers suggest that the biotin may have even caused some patients to worsen, which may have been a result of the increased metabolic demands placed on the nervous system due to increase biotin levels.

Biotin for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

As a direct result of the positive effects seen in clinical studies using biotin to treat patients with multiple sclerosis, researchers investigated whether these supplements might also be successful in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The rationale was that the involvement of the motor neurons in both of these conditions might be the common link since it is thought that the effect seen in MS patients occurs due to alterations to energy levels in the motor neurons.

Biotin for hair and nail growth

Biotin supplements might be most known for the claim that they promote hair and nail growth. However, there is limited research that supports the use of biotin for this purpose. In fact, the studies that report improvements in hair and nail growth have been those that have investigated biotin supplements in patients who have a medical condition that results in poor hair or nail growth. In these cases, biotin supplementation was able to reverse these negative effects. Healthy people are most likely able to acquire enough biotin from their diet, and are therefore unlikely to require biotin supplements.

Are there any side effects of taking biotin supplements?

Taking regular doses of biotin supplements may cause nausea, stomach aches, or diarrhea. Taking supplements could pose a risk if you are taking any medications, have underlying health issues, or are taking the wrong amount. Always consult your doctor before taking vitamins or supplements.

References:

Institute of Medicine Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes and Its Panel on Folate OBV, and Choline. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. National Academies Press (US), Washington 1998

Czeizel AE, Dudás I. Prevention of the first occurrence of neural-tube defects by periconceptional vitamin supplementation.  1992;327:1832–5.

Mock DM. Marginal biotin deficiency is common in normal human pregnancy and is highly teratogenic in the mouse. J Nutr 2009;139:154–7

Mock DM. Adequate intake of biotin in pregnancy: why bother? J Nutr 2014;144:1885–6.).

Mock DM, Quirk JG, Mock NI. Marginal biotin deficiency during normal pregnancy. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;75:295–9

Perry CA, West AA, Gayle A, Lucas LK, Yan J, Jiang X, Malysheva O, Caudill MA. Pregnancy and lactation alter biomarkers of biotin metabolism in women consuming a controlled diet. J Nutr 2014;144:1977–84.

Sedel F, Papeix C, Bellanger A, Touitou V, Lebrun-Frenay C, Galanaud D, Gout O, Lyon-Caen O, Tourbah A. High doses of biotin in chronic progressive multiple sclerosis: a pilot study. Mult Scler Relat Disord 2015;4:159–69

Birnbaum G, Stulc J. High dose biotin as treatment for progressive multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2017;18:141-143. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2017.09.030

Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay

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