Biotin, which is also called vitamin B7, vitamin H or coenzyme R, is a vitamin that not only helps the body metabolize carbohydrates and amino acids, but also facilitates the conversion of fatty acids and glucose into energy. The following write-up provides information on the symptoms of a biotin overdose.
Biotin, which is a member of B-complex family of vitamins, is a water-soluble vitamin that was discovered in the early twentieth century. Being a coenzyme, it doesn’t directly accelerate a biochemical reaction, but it binds with a protein to form an enzyme. Studies have revealed that vitamin B7 helps in preventing the buildup of fats in the liver and kidneys. It is also required for manufacturing genetic material. It also aids in cell division. It is required for keeping hair, nails and skin in good condition. Though our body’s needs might be easily fulfilled if we follow a balanced diet, one can take multivitamin pills or individual biotin supplements to avert a deficiency. However, one must take these supplements under medical supervision. An overdose can sometimes have serious repercussions on one’s health which is why one must comply with the guidelines regarding the dosage.
Effects of an Overdose
Vitamin B7 is well-tolerated when it is taken as per the prescribed dosage. There are no reported cases of adverse drug reactions or toxicity. Since this vitamin is water-soluble in nature, it can be flushed out of the system through urine. Though a vitamin B7 overdose is rare and is quite unlikely to cause serious complications, side effects could be seen in people who have been overdosing on biotin supplements for a long time.
- People at Risk: Those who are suffering from health problems such as seizure disorders, liver disease or kidney problems are more likely to experience certain side effects due to an overdose. In rare cases, one may experience symptoms such as skin eruptions, slowed insulin release or an increase in blood sugar levels.
- Pregnant women must be extremely careful about the dosage of vitamin B7 supplements or any other nutritional supplements. A few animal studies have been conducted to ascertain the consequences of an overdose. One of the studies was conducted on pregnant rats. These rats were given high amounts of biotin. The study revealed that a biotin overdose caused the placenta to shrink, thereby increasing the chances of miscarriage. However, these animal studies cannot be used to establish a link between an overdose and miscarriage in pregnant women.
- Though there isn’t enough evidence to prove that high doses can cause toxicity, it is advisable to take these supplements as per the recommended dosage. Since there is a lack of evidence on this subject, one must refrain from taking this vitamin in excess for prolonged periods of time.
Recommended Dietary Allowance
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of biotin for different age group is given below:
- RDA for young children is about 5 to 12 micrograms per day.
- RDA for adults can be between 20 to 30 micrograms.
- The dosage for pregnant women and lactating mothers is about 30 to 35 micrograms per day.
- The therapeutic range can be between 50 micrograms to 15 milligrams.
- Doses of up to 2.5 milligrams are often prescribed for treating hair and nail problems.
Though there is a lack of adequate research on the effects of an overdose of vitamin B7, that doesn’t mean that you can pop these pills without the approval of your doctor. Our body’s needs can be easily met if one follows a healthy diet. So improve your dietary habits to lower the risk of a deficiency. However, if you ever need to take these supplements, take them as per the prescribed dosage.
Certain food items are rich sources of biotin. The dietary sources of this vitamin include:
- Egg yolk
- Whole grains
- Organ meats
When is Biotin Supplementation Required?
If one’s diet includes the aforementioned food items, one may not suffer from a deficiency. Though a deficiency is quite rare, intestinal disorders that interfere with the absorption of nutrients can make one susceptible to a deficiency. Friendly bacteria that live in the digestive tract also help in the synthesis of this vitamin. This process could also be adversely affected due to prolonged use of antibiotics and certain drugs.
Consumption of raw egg whites on a daily basis can interfere with the absorption of this vitamin, thereby causing a deficiency. A person suffering from this deficiency is likely to experience hair loss, skin problems, brittle nails, loss of appetite, lethargy, low metabolism, muscle pain, depression, insomnia and lowered immunity. One can alleviate the symptoms by consuming its dietary sources or by taking supplements as per the prescribed dosage.
Disclaimer:This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.