Did you know that actively taking biotin supplementation can mess up your lab work??
What is biotin??
Biotin refers to the water soluble b-vitamin called B7. It’s also called vitamin H. Water soluble means it will urinate out of you if some is not needed.
What does biotin do?
In simple terms, this vitamin helps convert your food to energy by helping to break down carbohydrates, fats and protein. In fact, the same is true for most b-vitamins!
But it’s also known to help hair growth, which is a big reason many with non-autoimmune hypothyroid, or autoimmune Hashimoto’s patients, take it! Hair loss can be common for some with hypothyroidism, or the attack on the thyroid, or having inadequate levels of iron.
Biotin also helps strengthen weak nails. All these improvements may take a few months. But patients do report seeing improvements to hair and nails…even skin…from biotin.
In those with diabetes, there is some research showing it can help with lowering blood glucose levels.
What foods also have biotin/B7?
Besides supplementation, you can find it in red meat, organ meat like liver, eggs, salmon, spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, seeds, and nuts. If you are hypothyroid, you may not be getting enough from foods due to the way hypothyroidism causes absorption problems in the stomach.
But as far as eggs, consuming raw egg whites can lower our biotin levels. So it’s far better to consume cooked eggs.
Can we be deficient in biotin?
Most literature says it’s rare. But it may not be that rare if one has ongoing hypothyroidism (from lack of a diagnosis) or is poorly treated (such as being on nothing but T4, or non-optimal, even with T3 in our treatment). The latter slows down the production of stomach acid. Why is that a problem? Low stomach acid makes foods less absorbable! That’s why we can also seen iron fall B12 fall, vitamin D fall, etc.
Note that symptoms of low stomach acid can be similar to symptoms of too much acid. But for most, those symptoms represent LOW stomach acid. Read: https://stopthethyroidmadness.com/stomach-acid
As stated at the beginning of this article, biotin can mess up our lab results?
Definitely, especially in high doses. This fact first came from observation by thyroid patients who were using biotin supplementation: their free T3 or free T4 lab were coming back very odd and different than before. It varies between individuals, but patients would see a ridiculously low free T4 on doses of thyroid hormones that weren’t causing that before. Or the opposite would occur–ridiculously high results.
But they didn’t FEEL any different. It seemed to just change lab results.
Here’s info from 2017 about the biotin problem on lab test results: https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/safety-communications/fda-warns-biotin-may-interfere-lab-tests-fda-safety-communication
What’s the solution?
We find it important to stop biotin supplementation for up to a week before doing labs. Some recommendations are 72 hours at least, some more. We shoot for the more, since many of us can have slow metabolisms.