Q:

How much biotin is too much?

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Quick Answer

Biotin is considered fairly safe even at high levels, says WebMD. In fact, researchers have not discovered a dosage level that might create a health risk.

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Full Answer

The Institute of Medicine recommends the following levels of biotin intake (with or without supplements) to maintain good health: those 0-6 months require 5 micrograms/day, 7-12 months need six mcg/day, 1-3 years should have 8mcg/day, 4-8 years require 12 mcg/day, 9-13 need 20 mcg/day, 14-18 must have 25 mcg/day and 19 years and up require 30mcg/day. Pregnant women require 30 mcg/day, while breastfeeding women should have 35 mcg/day.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women and people with other medical conditions should consult a doctor before taking biotin supplements. Also, children shouldn't take biotin supplements without a recommendation from a pediatrician. Biotin supplements may also decrease the potency of some cholesterol drugs. Conversely, drugs such as antibiotics and acne medicines can diminish biotin levels. Certain epilepsy drugs can also decrease biotin absorption from food. Lipoic acid supplements may increase the need for biotin, and regularly eating raw egg whites can also lower biotin levels.

Biotin (also called vitamin H) is a coenzyme and a B vitamin. As a supplement, biotin is sometimes used for diabetes, brittle nails and other conditions. Most people don't need biotin supplements since it’s naturally provided in foods and our bodies recycle the biotin we've already used. Biotin occurs naturally in many foods, such as mushrooms, tuna, turkey, avocados, sunflower seeds, liver, cheese, peanut butter, cauliflower, sardines, berries, bananas, soybeans, beef, wheat germ, whole-grain cereals, whole wheat bread, eggs, dairy products, nuts, Swiss chard, salmon and chicken.

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