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What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Biotin?

Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that plays an important role in metabolizing the energy we get from food. Biotin assists four essential enzymes that break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Biotin deficiency is rare, except, possibly, among pregnant women. All proposed therapeutic uses of biotin supplements are highly speculative.

All the proposed uses of biotin discussed here are speculative, based on highly incomplete evidence.

Preliminary research suggests that supplemental biotin might help reduce blood sugar levels in people with either type 1 (childhood onset) or type 2 (adult onset) diabetes , 1 and possibly reduce the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy . 2 However, no double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have been reported on these potential uses of biotin. (For why double-blind trials are so important, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies? ) Two double-blind studies have found benefit for diabetes with a mixture of biotin and chromium 3 ; however, it is not clear how much the biotin in this combination contributed.

Very weak evidence, too weak to rely...

Safety Issues

Biotin appears to be quite safe. However, maximum safe dosages for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease have not been established.

Interactions You Should Know About

If you are taking:

  • Anticonvulsant medications: You may need extra biotin, but do not take more than the dosage recommendations listed in the Requirements/Sources section. In addition, take the vitamin 2 to 3 hours apart from the medication.