Biotin, sometimes referred to as vitamin B7 and vitamin H, has overtaken the market of daily multivitamin supplements through its popularity among people who believe it to contribute to keratin production, which is an important protective protein that makes up your skin, nails, and hair. Regular consumption of biotin is thought to improve these features, explaining the current high demand for the supplement.
As a health expert committed to helping others accomplish their individual wellness goals, I take nutritional supplements seriously. What you’re putting into your body is a vital aspect of sustaining good health, and supplements should be treated like any other food item. Try to learn all the information about the potential effects of biotin, good and bad.
This brings us to our focal point: biotin as it pertains to your thyroid health.
I’m not here to sway you in any particular direction when it comes to taking biotin supplements; after all, you should get the final say in regards to what you put into your body. Everyone’s health journey is different and catered to their specific needs, and what has positive effects for one person might do quite the opposite for someone else. The same is true for biotin, which can impact various areas of your well-being in both minor and major ways.
Be aware of what kind of effects biotin can have on your thyroid. Continue reading to learn more about the following topics:
- Why good thyroid health is a crucial part of your well-being
- How biotin can influence thyroid lab work
- What steps you can take to ensure a healthy thyroid
What is the Thyroid?
Understanding this Unique Organ
Chances are, at one visit to the doctor’s office or another, you’ve heard talk of the thyroid in passing. Maybe it was discussed with you at length regarding a health concern, or it was simply brought up and immediately tucked away in the back recesses of your mind as something to examine at a later time and date.
If the latter applies to you, then let’s say it’s later now and get right into it. The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ that sits right above your collarbone at the front of your neck, wrapped around the trachea. It consists of two wide wings that extend from a smaller middle part that wrap around the sides of your windpipe, hence the butterfly imagery.
The thyroid is a part of your endocrine system, a complex network of glands and organs throughout your body. The endocrine system is responsible for utilizing hormones to control and coordinate numerous factors within your body through feedback loops released directly into the circulatory system, enabling your body to perform certain tasks and functions. The hormones produced by glands in the endocrine system control things like metabolism, reproduction, energy levels, growth and development, moods, and your body’s response to stressors and injuries.
One of the most important duties of your thyroid is to release and control hormones that control metabolism, a vital process that converts the food you eat into energy that is able to be used by your body to keep various systems working correctly. The thyroid controls your metabolism by employing a few specific hormones known as T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine), which communicate with your cells so they know how much energy to use.
Your thyroid manufactures hormones that regulate your body’s metabolism, ensuring that bodily functions are being performed normally. Thyroid disease refers to a general medical condition that prevents your thyroid from producing the appropriate amount of hormones required for optimal health, which can cause serious issues for your well-being.
Thyroid disease is very common, and it is estimated that around 20 million people in the United States experience a thyroid disorder. Anyone can be affected by thyroid disease, though a woman typically has a higher chance of being diagnosed with a thyroid condition than a man. Thyroid disorders can be present at birth or develop later in life, such as after menopause begins in women.
Overproduction or underproduction of thyroid hormone can cause any number of unwanted symptoms to occur, including weight gain, weight loss, fatigue, irritability, muscle tremors, mood problems, and more.
In hyperthyroidism, you have an overactive thyroid that produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. This causes many bodily functions to speed up and predominantly affects people who are assigned female at birth.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include:
- Weight loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Muscle weakness
- Brittle hair and nails
- Heat sensitivity
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Enlarged thyroid gland
- Irritability and anxiety
When your thyroid is underactive and cannot sufficiently produce enough of its hormones, you suffer from hypothyroidism. Many of your body’s functions slow down as a result, and dreaded hair loss may follow suit.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism may include:
- Weight gain
- Dry skin and hair
- Memory problems
- Cold sensitivity
- Heavy menstrual periods
Turning to Biotin
When You Can’t Stomach Hair Loss Any Longer
Biotin is marketed as a dietary supplement, though it is typically unnecessary to consume additional amounts of biotin since deficiencies of the vitamin are rare. Found in many of the foods we consume, biotin is responsible for improving keratin infrastructure in the body, which is the protein that makes up the foundation of our skin, nails, and hair.
For those who do experience a biotin deficiency, some common symptoms may include thinning hair, brittle nails, skin rashes, and even hair loss. A hormonal imbalance caused by an improperly working thyroid gland can also cause hair loss, among other undesirable side effects.
It is often the case that people who experience hair loss turn to biotin in hope that the magical vitamin will help fix their hair problems. With an array of biotin supplements to choose from, promoting doses from small to large, it isn’t difficult to ascertain the reason some folks think bigger is better.
But when your body only requires about 30mcg of biotin per day to stay healthy, are those high doses really worth it? Let’s give some thought to the effects that large amounts of biotin can have on your health.
Is Biotin Dangerous For Your Thyroid?
What to Expect When Taking Biotin
The short answer is, technically, no – taking biotin does not pose a direct threat to your thyroid. Phew. That must mean you can continue enjoying your daily biotin supplements without worry then, right?
Well, it’s not quite that simple.
Doses of biotin that exceed the recommended range of 30 to 100mcg can cause negative effects such as cystic acne, allergic reactions, and skin rash. Since biotin is not a federally regulated medication, many people do not think the dosage matters that much, but that is a dangerous assumption.
Even in regards to parts of your body that do not suffer as a result of taking biotin supplements, it is important to realize that biotin can cause other issues that need to be taken just as seriously. Lab work results happen to be one area of concern, namely the results of thyroid lab tests.
Biotin Interferes with Thyroid Lab Tests
Though biotin has no direct influence on your thyroid gland, and thus cannot do it any harm, you should still take biotin with a degree of caution. Biotin has a tendency to distort results obtained by way of lab work, like those gained through blood and thyroid lab tests.
While your results may imply one thing, the reality of your thyroid health is completely different. You’re probably relieved to know that biotin isn’t actually causing issues to your thyroid, but that does not mean you shouldn’t pay attention to how much biotin you’re taking.
Thyroid test results that are skewed exceptionally high or low can cause a lot of unnecessary drama at your next medical checkup if you neglect to speak up about your biotin use, and may even result in an inaccurate diagnosis of a thyroid condition. It’s in your best interest to prevent these inaccuracies from occurring, as they can lead to profound consequences such as being treated for a disease that you do not have, or not receiving treatment for a legitimate disorder.
This is all possible due to the biotin-dependent technology that is widely used throughout doctor’s offices and laboratories to obtain accurate measurements during blood tests. Most immunoassays rely on the biotin-streptavidin attraction to capture the thyroid hormones present in your blood, and a large amount of biotin present in patient samples can cause discrepancies in these test results.
Depending on the particular assay used during routine lab work, biotin can skew the results to be either falsely high or falsely low. Even tests produced by the same manufacturer for different assays can fall victim to biotin interference and yield varying results.
Your Thyroid, Biotin, and Hair Loss
Minimize Your Chance of Inaccurate Test Results
You don’t want to walk out of your next doctor’s appointment with the belief that you have a thyroid condition when in actuality you do not, and vice versa. So be upfront and honest with your doctor about the medications you take, including any nutritional supplements like biotin.
Providing your doctor accurate medical information makes it easier for them to determine the reason behind any suspicious lab results, and can prevent a possible misdiagnosis. Receiving unnecessary treatment will invoke needless procedures that may cause discomfort, pain, and stress to your well-being, not to mention the accumulation of avoidable medical bills.
To minimize potential biotin interference in your thyroid lab tests, it is recommended that you stop taking the supplement shortly before your appointment, from a few days to a whole week prior. Since biotin is water-soluble, this time frame allows your system to flush out excess traces of biotin so accurate results may be collected.
If you’re hesitant to stop taking biotin because of hair concerns, think about it rationally and don’t risk your thyroid health over superficial features. It’s also entirely possible the hair issues you experience are a result of thyroid problems, which biotin will not fix on its own. Skip the doses and get legitimate results!
Value Your Health Above All Else
It is tempting to fall for biotin supplements sporting the most gaudy packaging amidst the less flashy multivitamin counterparts, but beware of cheap marketing tactics used to attract your gaze.
Products that are more aesthetically pleasing or make unfounded claims of complete athletic transformation typically aren’t much different than their competitors, despite what their advertising teams want you to think. And more importantly, not every supplement is crafted for the average person.
Plus, you have no one to prove yourself to. Your health journey should be centered around what you want – your personal aspirations. The opinions and standards that others hold you to is an unwarranted distraction that prevents you from achieving your goals, so pay them no mind.
My Multi Collagen Plus Biotin and Vitamin D supplements are crafted with the intent to help any individual, athlete or not, achieve sustainable, realistic results that fit into the lifestyle they lead, minus any societal expectations. They are a perfect match for anyone who is biotin-curious but a little hesitant to branch out into the world of supplements.
I sincerely hope that you can walk away from this article feeling informed and supported in your health journey. Wellness is about more than the types of supplements you take or the potency of the doses – it is about self-fulfillment and reaching your individualized goals. Take care of your health, make smart choices, and the rest will fall into place.