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Hair

"Hair Vitamin" Has Health Risks

Many dietary supplements promoted for hair, skin, and nail benefits contain levels of biotin (also known as vitamin B7) up to 650 times the recommended daily intake.

Physicians may also recommend high levels of biotin for patients with certain conditions such as multiple sclerosis. But biotin levels higher than the recommended daily allowance may cause interference with lab tests.

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its last safety communication, from 2017, to remind the public, health care providers, lab personnel, and lab test developers that biotin, often found in dietary supplements, can significantly interfere with certain lab tests. This can cause incorrect results that may go undetected. Incorrect test results may lead to inappropriate patient management or misdiagnosis. For example, a falsely low result for troponin, a clinically important biomarker to aid in the diagnosis of heart attacks, may lead to a missed diagnosis and potentially serious implications. The FDA is particularly concerned about biotin interference and troponin. The agency continues to receive reports of adverse events indicating that biotin interference caused falsely low troponin results.

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Talk to your doctor if you are currently taking biotin or are considering adding biotin, or a supplement containing biotin, to your diet.

The amount of biotin can vary significantly among products.

Know that biotin is found in multivitamins, including prenatal multivitamins, biotin supplements, and supplements for hair, skin, and nail growth in levels that may interfere with laboratory tests.  However, the amount of biotin can vary significantly among different products. Consider that the daily recommended allowance for biotin is 0.03 mg and that amount does not typically cause interference in lab tests.

Be aware that some supplements, particularly those labeled to benefit hair, skin, and nails, may have high levels of biotin, which may not always be clear from the name of the supplement. FDA is aware of many supplements containing 20mg of biotin, and some containing up to 100mg per pill, with recommendations to take multiple pills per day. Supplements containing high biotin levels may interfere with affected lab tests.

There is not enough information available to know if stopping biotin consumption for any number of hours prior to testing will prevent incorrect test results.

Tell your health care provider if you are taking biotin. If you suspect or experience a problem with a laboratory test while taking biotin, the FDA encourages you to report the problem through the MedWatch Voluntary Reporting Form

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