A Few Facts And Observations On The Effects Of A Biotin Overdose

Any dangers that might be associated with a biotin overdose would seem to fall into the “better safe than sorry” category. Too much of anything, even a vitamin such as biotin, often isn't good for us, but that doesn't necessarily mean great harm will come if we should overdose.

The fact is, a biotin deficiency is more common than a biotin overdose, and the symptoms of a biotin deficiency can be somewhat severe in some cases. Yet, a biotin deficiency is actually a rather uncommon event, and a biotin overdose is even less common.

Biotin belongs to the family of B-complex vitamins, and is also known as vitamin B-7. It is an essential vitamin in that it aids in the production of energy in the body, mainly due to its interaction with fatty acids and glucose. Biotin is also a key element in maintaining the metabolic process in the body.


We Get What We Need In What We Eat - In most instances, we get all of the biotin our body requires in the foods we eat. Even if our diet couldn't be considered all that healthy, it would quite likely still provide us with all the biotin the body needs. In some instances however, a person may not get the required amount of biotin. When that happens, the more common symptoms would be hair loss and brittle nails. In cases where the deficiency is prolonged, more serious problems could occur, such as skin rashes, a high cholesterol count, and a possibility of heart problems.

If our diet provides us with sufficient biotin, such that either a deficiency or an overdose is rather rare, why worry at all about the effects of a biotin overdose? The answer lies in supplements. Supplements, as much as anything else, can sometimes create problems by giving us more of a certain element than the body needs or can use. Sometimes when this occurs the body simply discards the excess amount. At other times is doesn't, or can't, and an overdose can create problems.

B-Vitamin Overdose Examples - If one looks at the B-complex vitamins, in some cases an overdose can be quite harmful, and in other cases not. An overdose of vitamin B-1, thiamine, can cause severe symptoms, and even cardiac and low blood pressure problems. An overdose of vitamin B-2, riboflavin, generally does no harm, although some individuals may experience a higher rate of allergic reactions. A Vitamin B-3, or niacin overdose, rarely causes problems, although there are some people who may have an allergic reaction when there is too much niacin in their system. Other B-complex vitamin overdoses, including biotin, may or may not cause symptoms to develop, although an overdose of folic acid, vitamin B-9, can at times be quite dangerous.

No Clear Answers - The question is, if you are taking biotin supplements, is an overdose dangerous? The answer is probably not, though there are possible exceptions. There isn't a great deal of information available on the effects of a biotin overdose, simply because the issue hasn't received a great deal of study. It does appear that those who have liver or kidney problems, those who have a history of seizures, and pregnant women, should monitor their intake of biotin if they are taking supplements, as there does appear to be some possible risks involved with an overdose, particularly a prolonged period of excessive use, although there are few concrete examples available to substantiate the risks.

An Argument That Doesn't Hold Water - Why then take biotin supplements anyway? It was noted above that a deficiency in biotin could create brittle nails and hair loss. One could assume that by taking biotin supplements, brittle nails and hair loss might be prevented. That would a logical argument, except for the fact that most people get all of the biotin in their diet that the body needs.  One reason for taking biotin supplements may be to prevent hair loss, but the supplements are often marketed as a product that will encourage hair growth. In other words, if a deficiency causes one to lose hair, an excess must have the opposite effect. That theory has neither been proven nor disproved, but there is little evidence at present to indicate that biotin supplements promote hair growth. If that were indeed the case, one of the symptoms of a biotin overdose well might be an excessive amount of hair growth. There does not seem to be any evidence available of that actually happening to anyone.

In summary, an overdose of biotin does not appear to be particularly toxic. Common sense would seem to dictate that the wisest path to follow would be to stay within the guidelines of the recommended daily allowance, especially since high amounts of biotin haven't been proven to be in any way beneficial. One should also take into account the fact that the consequences of taking an excess amount of something such as a vitamin supplement, may not surface until some time in the distant future, since there simply isn't enough data available to predict what the long term effects might be.