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A warning about hair, skin and nails supplements

Biotin (aka Vitamin B7), often found in hair, skin, and nails supplements, has become ubiquitous in pharmacy aisles. It's also present in large quantities in multivitamins and prenatal vitamins. But before starting this supplement, you ought to be aware of an important potential complication: Biotin can interfere with various lab assays, including thyroid levels, vitamin D, cardiac enzymes, and other hormone panels. Therefore, you run the risk of getting a false or inaccurate lab value - and a whole lot of headache!

Prior to all labs, we advise that biotin be held for at least 3 days. And if you're taking biotin, be sure to give your healthcare provider a heads up.

The million-dollar question: Does biotin actually help hair growth, skin texture, or nail strength? In short, there's insufficient evidence to confirm this. Fortunately, there's also no evidence of biotin toxicity, so aside from laboratory test interference, high-dose biotin supplements should not cause any adverse effects. Keep in mind that the Adequate Intake level of biotin recommended by the FDA is only 30 mcg daily, and most supplements have 1000 mcg or more! Furthermore, biotin is already present in foods like eggs, meats, nuts, legumes, and certain vegetables like sweet potatoes - so biotin deficiency is quite rare in most patients.

Awareness of the biotin effect on labs can prevent unnecessary medical testing. So if you choose to use biotin, make it clear to your providers!

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