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Biotin -- Side Effects and Benefits

Updated on October 20, 2011

Biotin -- Side Effects and Benefits

Biotin is a compound that's used in different ways, and because of that, biotin side effects and benefits will vary depending on how biotin is used. Though most often biotin is taken in supplement form, it's also used in cosmetic products as well for topical use and other things. But before we get into the side effects and benefits of biotin, lets have a quick review. Biotin is often classified with the family of B Vitamins, and for the purposes of this article, the differences aren't important. Biotin has a wide variety of very necessary functions inside the human body, including aiding in the production of essential fatty acids, cell growth, and metabolizing things like fats and amino acids. But most notably, biotin has been known for a long time to have a positive effect on the hair and nails. If you're looking for natural ways to boost hair health and growth, check out my other article on Castor Oil For Hair Growth.

So let's talk a bit about biotin side effects. Being an essential vitamin in the body, the likelihood of anything major appearing is very slim. But there are a few other things related to biotin that aren't necessarily side effects, but more like drawbacks that you should be aware of. In clinical studies that have been done, biotin has shown to not be very bio-available, meaning that when taken in supplement form, it's difficult for the digestive system to absorb it for use. Another thing that isn't a side effect of biotin itself but of the supplement is that often with biotin supplements, there are other things inside the pills. I took this directly from the label of a popular biotin supplement. Other Ingredients: Rice Flour, Cellulose (capsule), Magnesium Stearate (vegetable source) and Silica. So while a person might not have an adverse reaction to the biotin itself, they made experience side effects or allergic reaction to the other components inside the supplement.

What about side effects of biotin cosmetics? Biotin is most notably added to shampoo. Because these products are very specialized, no official side effects have been listed and the only way to find them is to read customer reviews and testimonials. I scanned the customer testimonials of different biotin containing cosmetics and found that most people were very happy with the products. The worst side effect I came across was a person complaining that biotin shampoo dried out her hair excessively.

Biotin side effects are minimal due to the fact that biotin is an essential vitamin.
Biotin side effects are minimal due to the fact that biotin is an essential vitamin.

Biotin Supplements and Natural Sources

Biotin is known as the hair and nail vitamin and people taking biotin supplements are often seeking to thicken their hair and grow stronger nails. At first, I was skeptical of the claims of biotin supplements because the bio-availability of biotin was said to be low. But after going through many different customer reviews, I found that most people who started taking biotin supplements noticed a marked difference in the quality of both their hair and nails. So obviously some of the biotin in the supplement was able to be absorbed and utilized by the body. That's a good thing because no one wants to spend good money on a supplement only to find out that their body isn't even really absorbing it. But that's another great thing about biotin. Supplement bottles like the one pictured to the right are generally very cheap. I've left you a link to one at the bottom.

But even cheaper is just to get biotin from natural sources. If you're looking for biotin from natural sources, egg yolks, liver, kidney, cooked oats, soybeans, unpolished rice, brewer's yeast, nuts and milk are all good natural sources of biotin. It's important to note though that biotin's bio-availability depends a lot on what other kinds of foods are present. Take eggs for example. Egg yolks are very high in biotin. Egg whites however are said to contain a compound that binds to biotin and keeps it from being absorbed. So it gets a bit tricky.

Biotin Shampoo

As far as biotin shampoo is concerned, the question needs to be asked, can the hair and the scalp actually absorb and utilize the biotin?  If it can't, then there's little point in adding it into shampoos.  So can biotin be absorbed into the body topically through the skin and the hair?  Unfortunately the answer seems to be no.  From clinical studies it seems as though biotin only works when taken internally, not through topical use.  Person's who have bought a biotin shampoo and seen good results from it have more than likely benefited from some other chemical combination within the shampoo that's known to stimulate hair growth.  It's not unlike marketers to use a well known gimmick to try to sell their product even though it's not the gimmick itself that really works but the other, less well known compounds.


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    • profile image

      karan 3 years ago

      I m 18 yrs.

      I want to keep my hair healthy

      there is not a pblm of hair loss but if I will take it then there will be side effect or not...

      jzzz want to confrm

      this capsule is good or not

      bczz hair is only a one thng by which ur face looks good...

      I dnt want yo ruin my hair

      I have seen and checking abt tis capsule children also can take it if doctor will prescribe them.

      should I go for a doctor and ask abt it

      ya I can start by myself...

    • profile image

      sandeep 4 years ago

      i m sufferning hair loss can i use biotin suuplement . i m 30years old man. plz suggest me.

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 6 years ago from San Diego, California

      I don't think that's a side effect, at least not one that I've read about before.

    • profile image

      DP 6 years ago

      What about cystic acne?

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 6 years ago from San Diego, California

      Joan, that's awesome that it has been so effective for you. Any kind of natural supplement won't usually have any side effects, because the body already uses it and will just discards what it doesn't need. That's weird that it seems to be losing its effectiveness. I've not heard of that happening before.

    • profile image

      Joan 6 years ago

      I came on this site because I am taking 7500mcg daily of biotin for my hair and nails and wanted to be sure it was ok to take that much. My hair grows extremely slow, always has, and there is a marked acceleration of hair and nail growth. However I wouldn't say that it makes my nails any stronger but they do grow faster. Thanks for this site because I'm no longer worried about the amount I'm taking. I still wonder if it loses it's effectiveness after a few months though. In the past I've taken it for a few months and then stopped for about 6 weeks. When I started back my hair started growing fast again. Biotin appears to work for me.

    • profile image

      Ruunner1 6 years ago

      Great read on Biotin

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 7 years ago from San Diego, California


    • K.Craig profile image

      K.Craig 7 years ago from Waterbury, CT

      Good Hub, Infomative!

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 7 years ago from San Diego, California


    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Thanks for sharing... Good information.

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 7 years ago from San Diego, California

      Thanks Jasper. I'm very glad you liked!

    • profile image

      jasper420 7 years ago

      usefull and well written hub keep up the good work great topic your gonna go far


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