When High-Dose Biotin Is Truly Needed
High-dose biotin is used for treatment of diabetes, disorders of the hair, skin, and nails, multiple sclerosis, and more. Are the high doses necessary?
The use of high-dose biotin supplements has increased almost 30-fold over the last twenty years for such problems as diabetes, smell and taste disorders, disorders of the hair, skin, and nails, and multiple sclerosis. But does anyone actually need them?
Well, this cute kiddo certainly seemed to need it!
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and this is not medical advice.
This article covers the safety and efficacy of high-dose biotin for all the conditions documented in the literature, its potential anti-fertility effects, and how and when to balance it with other vitamins.
In High Protein? You Need More Biotin, I made the case that the 30 micrograms used by the FDA as a Daily Value and set by the National Academy of Medicine as an Adequate Intake, is inadequate for nearly everyone. Most people, I argued, require between 150 and 300 micrograms per day, with the particular amount required dependent on how much protein they eat. Since the average biotin intake is likely in the area of 30-70 micrograms per day, most people need more biotin.
This suggests that there would be widespread benefit to improving biotin intake from food or from supplementing with between 100 and 250 micrograms per day.
Yet milligram levels are used for treatment of diabetes, smell and taste disorders, disorders of the hair, skin, and nails, and multiple sclerosis (MS). In fact, the doses used for MS are in the range of 100 to 300 milligrams, up to 1000 times more than I believe necessary for people on high-protein diets and 10,000 times the Daily Value.
In Biotin Causes a Multitude of False Lab Tests, I described how high-dose biotin supplements — those providing between one and three hundred milligrams per day — can cause wide-ranging errors in lab tests with the potential to mask recent heart attacks, pregnancies, or allergies; to misdiagnose thyroid conditions; to give false signals about the presence or progression of tumors; to falsely raise vitamin D, B12, and folate levels; to falsely alter many hormone levels; to generate false positives for HIV and hepatitis; and to lead to unnecessary surgery and possibly even death as a result of diagnostic errors.
This can be solved by stopping biotin supplementation for four days before most lab tests, and for seven days before tests for thyroid-related antibodies.
However, it should give one pause before using high doses of biotin. There is no clearly established toxicity of biotin, but that does not mean there are no adverse effects at any dose. We at least know that using it can cause diagnostic errors if supplementation around lab tests is not carefully managed. Therefore, we should at least ask the question:
When is it better to use a high dose than a low dose, and when is it necessary to use the high dose?
And then we should ask this one:
Are there any adverse biochemical or physiological effects of high-dose biotin?
Let’s now dig into the research to ask exactly these two questions.
In This Article
How Do You Show a High Dose Is Necessary?
Biotin-Responsive Genetic Disorders
Are These Genetic Disorders “Rare”?
Does High-Dose Biotin Have “Pharmacological” Effects?
High-Dose Biotin for Loss of Taste
High-Dose Biotin for Brittle Nails
Biotin and Blood Sugar
High-Dose Biotin For Multiple Sclerosis
MS and Many Other Neurological Problems Can be Driven by Biotinidase Deficiency
The Potential Anti-Fertility Effect of Massive Biotin Doses
Do We Need to Balance Biotin With Other Vitamins?
The Bottom Line
Have You Used High-Dose Biotin?