My Experience with Biotin: 3,000 mcg

March 01, 2012


The dietary supplement called Biotin, also known as vitamin H, is trending in the beauty world for it's reputation of being able to strengthen nails, clear up skin, and make hair grow faster. These claims are not scientifically proven, however a favorable ratio of people who had taken it over a few months time saw improvement with no side effects. I've read tons of forums and reviews in the depths of the internet that encourage use; promising that it will provide the most amazing results including supermodel skin, strong nails, and long flowing 'Rapunzel hair' that shines like gold. I wasn't sure if I believed all the hype, but I had to try it for myself. 

The Need to Know about Biotin

What is it?
A common B vitamin
Microorganisms that are found in the intestines

What does it do?
Essential part of energy production
Vital to metabolism of amino acids and carbohydrates
Supports the health of skin, nerves, digestive tract and cells
Forms fatty acids and glucose (blood sugar)
Involved in many different roles of the body including hair production and absorption of protein

Does it really work?
Little scientific evidence is known about the health benefits
Claims of acne and eczema treatment as well as hair loss reversal have not been proven

Biotin is not what I initially thought of it to be; I pictured one of those man-made pills that is advertised to do crazy things like make you lose belly fat or grow your breasts a few cup sizes. Before researching it more, that's the sort of assumption I made; a gimmicky pill that other's raved about because it had some insane level of ingredients in it. I learned that it is an actually an important part of our energy system that is naturally there. It aids with many internal occurrences of the body, even involving the tiniest of cells. This is what sort of struck me in a strange way.. could taking a supplement like this actually be safe? 

Our bodies obtain more Biotin through food we eat and recycle what has been already used. Some common foods that contain the coenzyme are : liver, cauliflower, salmon, carrots, chicken, nuts,  bananas, soy flour, cereals, and yeast.  

A deficiency of this vitamin is extremely rare; those who do consume the pills are most likely 'uping' their natural levels in order to see dramatic results. Here are the three major conditions that will cause a need for extra Biotin through supplements:

Genetic disorder of biotin deficiency
Seborrheic dermatitis in infants (also known as cradle cap)
Surgical removal of the stomach


My Experience
I did a lot of research online about oral Biotin supplements and decided to pick up a bottle. Although I didn't have any major concerns, I wanted to see if I could notice a difference in the improvement of my acne prone skin, my stubby nails and my hair growth. The pills I picked up by the brand Spring Valley which is sold at Walmart and on Amazon.com. There are also other ingredients in this supplement such as collagen, gelatin, and vitamins A, C, D, and E that work in conjunction with the Biotin for a super powered beauty enhancer. I read all the reviews on this brand that I could find online, and most turned out to be very positive stories of women how had simply taken one a day and saw results within just a few months. I believe I paid around $7 for the bottle, so it wasn't a huge investment even if the product didn't work out. The medication I was taking at the time had been in my system for quite awhile, and to my knowlege had not been noted to cause a negative reaction to any of the ingredients in the caplets.

After months of consistent use, I did not yield any noticeable results like all the other excited women whom I had read about. I faithfully took one pill every morning for about 4 months after eating breakfast. Before taking Biotin, my skin was particularly clear, with only a few small whiteheads popping up right before my menstrual cycle each month. About a month into taking it daily, I had begun to breakout way more than usual;  the type of deep, painful, cystic pimples that I haven't gotten in years. My diet hadn't changed, however I had been busy traveling so I though that maybe the environmental fluctuations and added stress could have been the cause of the new persistent acne. Another month goes by, and the spots still appeared. This is when I decided to stop taking the pills and see if it was the main factor in my acne spots. Sure thing, a few weeks later my skin was back to normal, if not a little more clear than usual. However, me being the hopeful person that I am just wanted to make sure it wasn't some random coincidence, and that it was sorely the Biotin causing my skin breakout. I started the pill once more and took it for about a month when the pimples started to come back again. I was so disappointed to find out that I did not react well because the results others have had were so great. I know everyone's body is different and not every supplement will work properly or the same because of that. My hair grows at the average rate of a half inch per month, and I've never had a problem with brittle nails or horribly awful skin (not counting young teenage years) so either I was putting too much Biotin into my body, or it was the wrong amount, or there was an interaction with one of my medications that imbalanced something in my system. I did some more research after I stopped taking it and discovered the reason why I saw more acne flare ups was because my own hormone levels along with the ones that are altered by my medication somehow did not agree with the Biotin. I found a handful of other people who wrote online about having same side effects as me. Taking any medicine for hormones, hair growth or loss, thyroid conditions, glucose issues, and others may put you at risk for more side effect. To truly know it is safe to use, you may want to seriously consult a doctor before taking Biotin in all medical situations. 

These particularly big pills smelled and tasted so awful and strong, it was not a pleasant experience to wash them down every morning. The bottle will continue to sit in a drawer of mine and collect dust. 

This is why it's so important to make sure you know all the information necessary while still consulting a professional before taking any sort of supplement. The only side effect I noticed was the cystic acne, however in other cases certain drug or chemical interactions may be more dangerous or fatal. From my knowledge of medicine from working in a pharmacy, a skincare chemist's lab, as well as my own research, I felt confident enough to take at my own risk. Turns out I will never know everything because the human body and it's contents are so complex and particular. There is always the possibility of negative results despite feeling so sure about the decision.

sources of information about Biotin: Webmd & Mayo Clinic

29 comments :

  1. That sucks about the product, when I first started reading the post I was thinking hooray a product that helps nails, skin and hair. Shame that it broke you out badly though :(

    Charlee
    http://charmedcharlee.blogspot.com/
    xx

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    1. yeah it didn't work for me sadly. tons of women still rave about it though xx

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  2. i take a different brand of biotin ;-)

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    1. you're so lucky you can tolerate it!

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  3. I used to take these same vitamins and i actually loved them! I took them twice a day for about a year. my skin has always been pretty ok, taking these improved my skin and also my hair! But i believe its just has different reactions with each persons body. There is always just eating healthy! :)

    xoxo,
    Jasmine

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    1. right, that's really great you experienced positive results! you're so brave for taking them twice daily, to me the taste was too unpleasant xx

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  4. Thanks for sharing this! Sometimes its hard to know which vitamins to take when there are sooo many!
    I take vitamin B, primose oil, and vitamin D!

    Much love, Vivi

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    1. i've heard great things about primrose oil, what brand do you like best?

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  5. thanks for the post.. i have been thinking of taking biotin coz i heard a lot about it...this is a great post.

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    1. if your body reacts well to it i know it works wonders for some people xx

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  6. I have never tried this. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    http://myminibag.blogspot.com

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  7. Thanks so much for this review hun, I have been on the look out for something to help my hair grow thicker and stronger, but think I will pass on this one. For nail growth can I recommend Perfectil (vitabiotics) skin hair and nails, I don't notice any difference in my skin or hair, however I've been taking this for years and my nails are long and strong, if I don't take it my nails break within days so would definately recommend this for nail growth! xxx

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    1. hmm that sounds really interesting, i will definitely check it out! sometimes it's all about the amount they put in the vitamin. thanks for recommending it hun xx

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  8. great post! i've heard of pills and supplements like these but have never tried one myself. probably because i'm too scared of the side effects haha, it's a shame they didn't work for you, but just be glad it was only a few spots and not some serious side effect! thanks for sharing :)

    http://vckyv.blogspot.com

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    1. yeah luckily for me it was just acne, i really wish it had worked though xx

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  9. i have to agree with Girlie Blogger..i will pass...but great post (minus your not so fun "side effects") i was wondering if it actually worked xo

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  10. I take a similar vitamin, but I personally don't think it did anything for my hair! My hair seems to grow so SLOW! www.casualglamorous.com

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    1. haha yeah me too i think maybe my nails improved a tiny bit.. but that might just be my imagination :p

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  11. Very nice blog Luv! Very informative! XO :)

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  12. Great post! I was considering trying biotin, but I was hesitant after reading reviews.

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  13. Ohh wow, thanks for the review, extremely informative. I use to have long hair long enough that it reached my hips and last year I cut it Halley Berry short. (yup an extreme makeover for me) and I am currently taking Vitamin E and my hair seems to be growing extremely quickly. No side effects and I've been taking it for a few months now. Anyways please stop by my blog...xo-Chelise from http://empirestatebeautyqueen.blogspot.com/

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  14. Biotin is a must-have. The ingredient Biotin, or vitamin B7, is crucial for the production of keratin, the key structural component of hair, nails, and skin. Daily doses as high as 60 mg a day can be taken for long periods, as there have not been any reports of biotin toxicity.

    I also make sure to use a shampoo with a high biotin and vitamin content - for this I recommend the Shielo Volume Shampoo. The Shielo shampoo, combined with biotin supplements, will give you everything you need. I had success using both together.

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  15. Had these same results!! I used biotin once day for several months -- then after researching and learning that there were no 'side effects' I took the max does, 5000 mcg everyday.

    Needless to say after a month of heavy biotin intake my once clear skin broke out very badly. I stopped using it. It has been a month and my skin is still recovering :(

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  16. I was taking an Rx that caused my already thin hear to start falling out. I read that Biotin would help so I started taking Biotin 3000mcg twice a day and the hair loss stopped right away. If I forget to take it one day, I'll see hair loss the next day. I'm sorry to hear about your skin problem. Maybe because I'm older I haven't had that problem

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  17. Have you been drinking enough water? Vitamin B7 (biotin) is water-soluble and you need to drink at least 6 glasses of water daily to fully dissolve it your system. Also I've heard that taking zinc supplements in conjunction with taking biotin can help with the acne. Don't forget to drink 8 glasses of water every day! That is crucial! The majority of people who broke out from biotin is because of the lack of fluid in their body meaning they're not drinking enough.

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  18. Ive been taking biotin for a few weeks now and my skin has actually cleared up. I started at 2000 mcg with a multivitamin and at least 2 bottles of water a day and I see positive results. Its important to balance out the vitamins in your body when taking biotin and with that.. you may see far better results.

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  19. I take these. 3 every night after dinner. It is actually helping my skin, though I have also been putting Neosporin on my acne which is a miracle worker . These don't appear to do too much for my nails, but I have only been using them for a few weeks. My hair seems softer and shinier without being oily which is great and I have had reduced dandruff which I didn't expect. Maybe my mind is fooling me, but if you take the recomended amount, I believe that results will occur.

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