Biotin is a popular supplement for those who are looking to improve their skin or grow their hair and nails, but just with any supplement, it's important to be aware of how it could negatively impact your body. There are a number of unexpected negative side effects of taking biotin, and it's good to be aware of them before you start a regimen. Not all these things will necessarily happen just because you take biotin, but before you begin ingesting the supplements, you should always proceed with caution.
"Those with biotin deficiency may potentially benefit from biotin supplementation for their condition," Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe tells Bustle. "It is generally deemed safe as long as you are taking the recommended dosage prescribed by your doctor. Biotin has grown in popularity though for generally health individuals trying to strengthen their nails and promote the growth of their hair. More scientific studies are really needed to confirm the efficacy of biotin for this purpose."
As useful as biotin can be, it can also come with some unwanted side effects. When in doubt, always consult with a physician before beginning a biotin regimen to be safe. Here are seven unexpected — and potentially dangerous —side effects of taking biotin, according to experts.
Too much biotin can cause cystic acne that develops along the chin and jawline. "Although this is not considered 'dangerous' it is a side effect that can impact your life — cystic acne can be painful — and self-esteem," Dr. Melanie Kingsley, dermatologist at IU Health, tells Bustle.
2Skewed Lab Results
"If you are taking very high levels of biotin, it may potentially skew the results of certain lab values such as cardiac troponins (a marker used to help diagnose a heart attack) and thyroid hormone studies," Okeke-Igbokwe. "This may potentially contribute to a misdiagnosis. It is extremely important to always indicate to your doctor every medication you are taking, including any over the counter supplementation whenever you are getting blood work done."
3Increased Blood Sugar Levels
Biotin can cause a slower release of insulin and increase of blood sugar levels, which is particularly important to diabetic patients or people with high blood pressure. "A slower release of insulin can lead to higher blood pressure, which can lead to clots or stroke (if not monitored closely)," says Kingsley. "Untreated high blood sugar can be dangerous for diabetic patients, possibly leading to a serious condition called ketoacidosis. Thus, diabetic patients or those with high blood pressure should be careful with biotin dosage to avoid complications."
Taking biotin may also wreak havoc on your digestive system. "Some people can experience stomach discomfort from taking biotin, including nausea, cramping, and diarrhea," Dr. Tania Elliott tells Bustle.
This is more common in those with an allergy to Vitamin B12 or cobalt. That said, an allergic reaction to biotin will often include nausea, a rash, or swelling of the throat and face. While manageable, allergic reactions can become very dangerous if not addressed by a medical professional.
Negative skin reactions can also occur as a result of taking biotin. "There have been instances of severe skin rashes from biotin, where blood vessels can become inflamed because the immune system perceives the biotin as something foreign," says Elliott.
7Interactions With Medications
Biotin can cause interactions with medications, including those for cholesterol, diabetes, and anticonvulsants, and can lower the effectiveness of these drugs. "Any interaction with a medication can potentially be dangerous to a patient, which is why it is very important to discuss all of your medications and supplements with your doctor," says Kingsley.
Many people take biotin with no issue, but it's always important to talk to your doctor if you're experiencing anything out of the ordinary.