Biotin Supplementation: What You Need to Know

One of the most popular “hair loss supplements” is biotin (B7). It’s nicknamed the “H” vitamin (German: Haar and Haut which means “hair and skin”) and has been shown to slow hair loss, prevent graying, and reduce brittleness. And benefit nail health to boot.

Biotin helps to make keratin, one of a group of fibrous structural proteins that not only generates hair and nails, but also claws, hooves, and horns. It seems like a powerhouse supplement—no wonder so many people take it!

<< If you suffer from alopecia, please enter your name and email on the left to stay abreast of my upcoming Reversing Alopecia online masterclass series that begins April 2019. You can read testimonials from prior participants here.

While it can be helpful, supplementing with biotin isn’t a panacea. As I’ve always said, reversing alopecia is an inside job and a biotin deficiency is rarely the sole reason why someone is experiencing inordinate hair loss or balding. There are typically many factors that need addressing.

Biotin has been shown to not be harmful in high doses. But there’s something critically important that you need to know about biotin supplementation—it can mimic Graves’ disease on lab values. Graves’ is autoimmune HYPERthyroidism.

It doesn’t mean that you have Graves’ disease. The biotin is skewing the lab values.

But it’s easy to get a Graves’/hyperthyroidism diagnosis if your doctor doesn’t know about this critical association. And many don’t know.

Often, people take biotin because of the hair loss from their LOW thyroid function, as hair loss is one of the hallmark symptoms of HYPOthyroidism. It’s like—What? How on earth could I have Graves’ when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and still have low thyroid symptoms?

This misinformation/misdiagnosis can have profound and devastating repercussions—especially in the face of low thyroid symptoms. Or a prior Hashimoto’s diagnosis. Attempting to treat the “overactive thyroid” is the exact opposite of what’s needed. A thyroid-slowing protocol for someone who’s already hypothyroid? Disasterous.

I’ve seen this several times with my clients and Reversing Alopecia course participants—they’ve been diagnosed with Graves’/hyperthyroidism, but symptomatically, they’re showing up with anything but. Indeed, much of the time, these folks are supplementing with biotin. 

You do not have to be taking a standalone biotin supplement for this phenomenon to take place. This photo from one of my clients shows the biotin dosing on a popular multi-vitamin—1666 percent of the % Daily Value! >>

One of my course participants, Julie, said, “Jill, you have been an answer to prayer. You have answered so many lingering questions about my journey with alopecia and my thyroid. I know from my research that people can swing from Graves’ to Hashimoto’s or vice versa, but I never once had a single hyper symptom. I’ve had all the classic symptoms of low thyroid function. But my doctor simply wouldn’t listen and tried to prescribe Methimazole for Graves’. I cried myself to sleep, I was so confused. Yes, I’d been taking biotin for several months. And sure enough, as soon as I stopped, my thyroid values were more in line with what they’d been previously, although better because of what I learned from you and your wonderful cookbook!”

Fortunately, lab values normalize after seven days with no biotin.

Rich food sources of Vitamin B7 include: tomatoes, almonds, eggs, onions, carrots, romaine lettuce, cauliflower, grass-fed beef, chicken, avocado, legumes, nuts, and potatoes.

Comments

Question - I am about a year post-baby and still taking prenatals (which have biotin, according to the packaging it has 10% of the daily value) as I had pretty strong post-partum hair loss.  Also, I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto's.  My thyroid meds were bumped up during my fertility treatments and pregnancy to stay in a very normal range but my values postpartum have skyrocketed so it looks like I am now HYPERthyroid.   I definitely don't FEEL hyperthyroid...much the opposite. I would have asked for a bump in meds. Could this be the problem? Obviously, I know I need to talk to my doctor but just curious of your thoughts.

What multi-vitamins do you recommend?

I prefer food-based multi-vitamins and multi-minerals. Brands that I like are MegaFood, Garden of Life, and Rainbow Light.

Are dr axe’s b complex good or not as good?

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