Biotin, also known as vitamin H or B7, is a water-soluble complex vitamin that is vital for strong, healthy hair and nails, and can be found in foods like almonds, eggs, liver, pecans, sardines and whole grains. Biotin plays an important role in the cell metabolism by metabolizing amino acids and carbohydrates, and aids in converting the nutrients you eat into energy. Research shows that biotin does not produce toxicity at high doses, nor is it associated with side effects, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, allergic side effects may occur.
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Eosinophilic Pleuropericardial Effusion
An extremely rare condition, eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion, has been associated with taking too much biotin in a single reported case detailed by lovetoknow.com. Specifically, high doses of biotin along with vitamin B5 were believed to have caused this severe reaction. An eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion is a life-threatening condition that occurs when blood and air enter the pleural cavity space around the lungs, which results in a major pulmonary infection. Again, this has occurred in only one known case; thus, the probability of such an infection appears very low.
Excess biotin is excreted in urine; therefore, no known side effects exist for this vitamin. However, any ingested substance carries the potential for an allergic reaction; consequently, let your physician know if you have any allergic reaction to biotin, as advised by Drugs.com. The fact that it is a B vitamin indicates that people who have an allergy to cobalt or to cobalamin should not take biotin. In individual cases of allergy, a serious reaction may result. Signs include chest and throat tightness with chest pain, which could indicate the life-threatening reaction, anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can produce a loss of consciousness and severe respiratory or breathing problems. This is an emergency situation -- immediate medical treatment is essential.
Blood Glucose Effects
Since biotin is essential to the formation of fatty acids and glucose, high doses of this vitamin may affect blood sugar levels, as noted by MayoClinic.com. Therefore, if you are a diabetic, check with your doctor about biotin supplementation before taking the supplement on your own.
Dosages: Atypical and Suggested
There are certain situations when very high dosages of biotin can aid in medical treatment. For example, biotin 5000 mg can aid in treating yeast infections such as Candida albicans, so that it does not develop from its yeast-like state into a fungal form, as discussed by FungusFocus and altMD's Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. High doses of biotin also are used at times by the allopathic medical profession to treat diabetes since it enhances sensitivity to insulin and effectively increases levels of enzymes involved in glucose metabolism, notes altMD.
Because a deficiency of biotin is extremely rare, MayoClinic.com states, no recommended dietary allowance has been established. However, normal or adequate intake suggestions have been determined as follows: 10-20 mcg (micrograms) for children from newborn to 3 years old; 25 mcg for children 4 to 6 years; 30 mcg for those aged 7 to 10 years; and, 30-100 mcg for adolescents and adults. There are 1000 micrograms in every milligram (mg), so 5000 mg is a significantly high dose: check with your physician before taking biotin 5000 to treat any medical condition.