Biotin Messes with Your Thyroid Testing

June 26, 2017

Biotin Messes with your Thyroid Testing 

 References: NCBIEndocrine News 

 Everyone needs biotin. It's been known since the 1920s but only understood since the 1970s. It is used in 4 enzymes in the mitochondria of your cell. You can make some biotin deficient by feeding them a diet of pure raw egg white (high protein) and despite that sounding odd, folks getting IV parenteral nutrition had a lot of egg white protein given IV and thus biotin deficiency was found. Skin rashes and hair loss were prominent symptoms. Hence, the connection with hair loss. 

The Institute of Medicine recommends some 30 micrograms a day and that's what's in most OTC vitamin pills. Now, menopause is strongly associated with hair loss, as is thyroid disease. Considering how many Americans go through menopause (rumor has it that it's more than half), the hair loss industry was born. And biotin plunked down in the middle of it. BEST PRODUCTS to prevent hair loss! It is widely "known" that you "need" biotin to prevent hair loss. 

Well, is it? And are there problems with that? If you look at the ingredients in most of the hair loss products, you will find 500 mcg of biotin and above in them. That's 20 times the Institute of Medicine guidelines. Considering that hair loss is associated with dysfunctional thyroid, mostly low, and low progesterone, many many women are caught in this conundrum, and want to fix their hair loss. And they find themselves on biotin, in one form or another. What's the problem? Biotin has now been found to conflict with thyroid measurements. This should come as a relief to many folks who can't understand why their thyroid tests keep fluctuating wildly. 

The problem comes in that biotin is used as an anchor to capture antibodies. Biotin sticks nicely to streptavidin, a protein reagent on the capture surface of the test device. That makes a lot of natural biotin floating around. When someone starts taking lots of extra biotin, it's going to interfere with that testing process. With interference, you can have falsely elevated blood tests of total T4 and T3, with normal other tests making for combinations that don't make sense. You see the conundrum? You have hair loss and are trying to normalize your thyroid. But you are also taking biotin, in a form you didn't even know about because the supplement you were taking for hair loss called it something other than biotin (Vitamin H is a common misnomer). 

 www. What will work for me. If I didn't know 5 people with this situation, it wouldn't be so notable. The upshot is that it takes some 3-5 years for hair to run through its natural cycle, and up to 6 months for anyone to notice that a real change has come about. Once it has fallen out, it takes at least 3 months (the telogen phase) before it starts growing again. It's not that biotin is bad for you. It's that it is used as a reagent in testing thyroid, and high blood levels mess up the testing. If that leads to dose changes, you have a problem. If you are on biotin, then don't completely trust any test about your thyroid.   

 Pop Quiz:

1.     Hair loss is affected most by what two hormones?                        Answer: thyroid and progesterone
2.     Biotin is related to vitamin C? T or F                              Answer:  Oh, get over it and read it again. It's a B vitamin, B7 to be exact. 

 3.    The reason biotin messes up your thyroid is?                                  Answer: it doesn't. It messes up your thyroid test leading you to look like you are in trouble, when you are just peachy. 

 4.     If you are worried about your hair, how often should you let yourself make dose changes of your thyroid or progesterone?                         Answer: probably at least 3 months before you change anything. 

 5.    Your thyroid is easily understood with your thyroid tests? T or F                    Answer:   Oh, my goodness. You haven't read much about reverse T3 or de-iodinase yet.