Biotin has always been an important part of the human diet, and is known as one of the vitamins needed by the body to create the energy for our day to day activities. However, the use of biotin supplements for various treatments has posed a debate as to whether the intake of biotin increases body weight or not.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is a class of vitamin B which is naturally present in some foods and can be purchased as a supplement. Biotin is commonly known as vitamin H, vitamin B7, or coenzyme R. Biotin improves your body’s keratin levels, and keratin is proven to boost the health of your hair and nails, so it is commonly used to treat hair loss.
It also helps metabolize carbohydrates and amino acids, and aids in breaking down fat in your body, turning it into good sugars your body can use as energy. These benefits make biotin an important part of creating the healthy energy your body needs to function. It can be found in many foods and beverages, including red meat, milk, carrots, spinach, seafood, many types of nuts and more. For people with a biotin deficiency, it is also advised to be taken as a supplement. Though before taking biotin as a supplement, it is advised to first make a conscious change in your diet to include more of the above nutritious foods, and see if your condition improves. There is no danger in adding more biotin-rich foods to your diet, so this is the safest first step!
Biotin deficiencies are quite rare because it is found in so many common foods, but if you have some of the following symptoms, you should strongly consider eating more of the above. If you have a biotin deficiency you are likely to have other vitamin deficiencies as well, like vitamin D or Iron, which are far more common and are also caused by a lack of nutrients in your diet. In order to fix your vitamin imbalance, you may need to change your diet and/or take multiple supplements.
You may have a biotin deficiency if you are experiencing: hair loss, fatigue, insomnia, nausea, muscle pain, difficulty walking, dry skin, eyes or hair, & more. Talk to your doctor if you are having any of these symptoms and ask to be tested for a biotin deficiency. A simple blood test can determine the results.
Many people take biotin supplements in order to treat hair loss, and brittle nails. It’s a necessary vitamin for a healthy nervous system and very important during pregnancy. There are some genetic disorders that are associated with neurological issues, but they are usually identified at birth and can be easily treated if caught early. Babies are almost always tested for those disorders at birth, so if you are concerned that you’ve only recently developed a deficiency, the good news is that it’s not a genetics issue!
Does biotin cause weight gain?
The possible weight increase caused by a biotin supplement differs for every individual and doesn’t apply to everyone – some people see no gain or loss to their body weight, and concerns over weight gain are mirrored by other users claiming the supplement actually caused weight loss. It seems unlikely that it would cause weight gain, considering one of its major functions is to break down fat, but there are various other factors to consider and there are no known dangerous side effects, which is why research isn’t a major focus or readily available.
In short, there is very little research to support any claims about the side effects of biotin. Research on the vitamin remains scarce, so as a result, there is little conclusive evidence for or against it as a supplement. On a positive note, this means there has been no recorded negative side effects, including weight gain. However, In 2015 a survey was published in favour of biotin as a supplement to improve hair growth. More pros than cons so far!
Weight gain is a common concern for the introduction of many different medications and supplements, so this should not dissuade you from testing biotin as a supplement if your doctor recommends it to remedy another health issue. You can monitor your weight in the first few months of taking biotin (it will take some time to have noticeable effects on your body), and speak to your doctor if you’re seeing unusual weight gain. If you conclude that it’s causing you to gain weight, you can always reduce and remove the supplement from your diet.
It’s important to remember that weight gain isn’t necessarily harmful to your health, but can bring about change in your body’s fundamental structure and necessary functions. Keeping a healthy BMI or normal body weight is advised by all health and medical professionals, but is not necessarily the cause of all your medical issues. Excess weight gain, and a lack of management when it occurs, can greatly affect a person’s risk of developing a number of serious health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, and many more. If you believe taking a biotin supplement is causing you to gain an unusual amount of weight, speak to your doctor before it causes too much harm and puts you at risk of developing another health issue as a result.
Of course, many patients are concerned about weight loss in relation to their appearance, but if your doctor thinks the benefits of biotin outweigh the possible risk of weight gain, the risk is small enough that you should take their advice. If you’re using biotin as a supplement to treat hair loss, you’ll have to ask yourself which is more important to you! But it’s more likely that the biotin will improve your hair growth, and have no effect on your weight.
These concerns and others are the major reasons why you have to visit your doctor before embarking on a biotin journey, and keep your doctor informed about any slight change you might experience during administration. In doing so, you can monitor how your body is reacting to the change, and can record an increase or decrease in body weight.
Biotin cannot be stored in the body; it can only be absorbed from the food we eat or through vitamin supplements. So it’s unlikely that it could cause weight gain, but the balance of every individual’s body weight is always more complicated than just calories in and calories out. It should also be noted that Biotin does not contain fat or calories, which are both common sources of increased body weight.
All in all, there is simply no way to make any conclusive claims about weight gain in relationship to the supplement without more research. There is not enough evidence to dissuade you from considering it as a supplement.
Other Biotin Side Effects
While biotin is undoubtedly necessary as an energizer for our bodies, it has been discovered that people may develop different side effects to its intake as a supplement. While many people take the supplement to remedy hair loss and brittle nails, there have been complaints of totally the opposite – outrageous hair and nail growth. As mentioned above, both weight gain and weight loss have been reported as side effects, as well as rashes, acne, allergic reactions, and negative interactions with another medication. Those interactions vary based on the type of medicine (or mixture of medicines, if you’re taking more than one kind), so please consult your physician before taking biotin as a supplement.
Some reported benefits include improved cognitive function, reduced inflammation, lower blood sugar, and healthy cholesterol.
In conclusion, there is not enough research to support a definitive answer on whether or not biotin causes weight gain, but there is enough research and user feedback to support the belief that it is not inherently dangerous, and does not always cause weight gain. The best thing to do is speak to your doctor and see if they believe biotin is right for you!