Biotin Side Effects-Is it Safe or Dangerous?

Is biotin safe for use? What are the  side effects? Does it cause weight gain? Taking too much  especially 10000mcg and 5000mcg biotin may come with certain adverse side effects even though the supplement is not known to have any. Here’s a lowdown on the risks and dangers of using biotin on skin, for weight loss and even for hair growth.

Is biotin safe?-Dangers & Safety

biotin side effectsThe US Food and Drug Administration [FDA] reports that, “biotin is generally considered safe and well tolerated when taken orally at recommended doses.” Side effects from biotin are uncommon. However, some people can develop adverse effects while using these supplements.

There are however factors to consider before using this supplements. Biotin is not stored in the body and is easily removed from the body via urine.

Therefore, it cannot be stored to toxic levels in the body. Currently, there is not enough information to determine the appropriate safety guidelines when using biotin. Keep in mind that, natural products are not always safe and dosages can be very important.

How can biotin be used safely?

A doctor may prescribe biotin for people with biotin deficiency or to prevent deficiency in those at risk. In addition, some people take biotin supplements for this reason. Many people take biotin supplements on their own in hopes of treating hair loss, cradle cap in infants, and brittle nails. When consulting your doctor for biotin supplements, be sure to let him know the following:

  • If undergoing kidney dialysis
  • If you take alcohol or smoke cigarettes
  • If on anti-seizure medication like phenobarbital, phenytoin and carbamazepine.
  • If you are on/or have been on any long term course of antibiotics

Some people also take biotin supplements to treat diabetes and nerve pain associated with diabetes, although there is not much evidence to support this type of use.

Biotin is safe to use. It is however important to consult the doctor before using any of these vitamins and capsules to rule out risks of developing unintended effects especially if pregnant or breastfeeding. The maximum recommended dose is usually 2mg/day but maximum dose required for full effect and for how long is unknown.

The effectiveness of biotin with increased doses has not been verified yet leaving room for one to make a decision on frequency and how much can actually work for you.

There are no age limits when it comes to using biotin. However, there are recommended adequate intake amounts for each age. Even as one tries to supplement biotin, it is also important to ensure that you conserve that which the body makes naturally. Smoking, alcohol and eating more than two egg whites a day can lower biotin levels.

Read the following precautions to help you use biotin safely:

  • Take adequate amounts of water to help in absorption
  • If taking this for the first time, start with a minimum dose and increase gradually
  • Take these vitamins with a proper meal in either the morning or evening
  • Taking vitamins just like any other medicines for a long time makes you dependent on them
  • It is advisable to take biotin with other multivitamins to avoid imbalance

Too much Biotin-10000mcg & 5000mcg

Side Effects of Biotin 5000mcg
Biotin 5000mcg

Biotin 5000mcg just like other biotin strengths is generally well tolerated. There are no specific side effects related to one strength of biotin. Side effects are uncommon. Even at higher doses, there are no confirmed reports of any side effects arising from the use of this vitamin.


Extra biotin is easily excreted in urine and therefore it cannot be stored in the body to toxic levels. Doctors say that side effects from biotin 5000mcg are more like allergic reactions and this depends on one’s sensitivity to it. Very sensitive people can experience,

  • Skin eruptions
  • Itchiness of the skin
  • Rash and
  • In extreme cases, eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion.

May increase the frequency of how many times you go for a short-call. Too much biotin is associated with more urination
Too much may lead diarrhea and stomach cramps
Other side effects with no substantial evidence include;

  • Nausea
  • Increase Blood Glucose Levels
  • Acute Respiratory Problems


Apart from those discussed above, there are no known biotin side effects. Biotin is a safe vitamin and not likely to cause adverse effects. Nevertheless, it is advisable to talk to your doctor before taking any biotin pills or vitamins for hair growth.

The University of Washington Medical Center notes that some biotin users “may have side effects such as mild nausea, stomach cramping, or diarrhea.”

 Skin Acne

While biotin can be beneficial, taking too much of it can result to unwanted effects on skin. This can be associated to the fact that biotin has a great influence on your metabolic functions. Just as different people will react to medication differently, the reception and absorption of biotin is also different.

Even with no documented side effects, many people report to have experienced unwanted effects on the skin after using biotin for a long time. These include skin rash and breakouts (acne). Biotin increases sebum production. This is actually, what helps in moisturizing your skin.

However, increased sebum is likely to increase the emergence of cystic acne on chin and jaw line. To avoid this, doctors recommend that you begin regime at a lower dose with gradual increase as this gives your body time to adapt to the supplements. Other biotin side effects are increased growth of facial hair and fine body hairs, which can be unpleasant especially for women.

 Weight Gain

Does taking biotin make you gain weight? Some individuals claim that they have gained weight after taking biotin for a while. Some have claimed that biotin 5000mcg has made them gain weight…Are all these claims true? Well, this may be true or not true. The fact is, our bodies react or respond to different substances not in the same manner. To others it may cause weight gain while to others it may not. The claims are all based on anecdotes or hearsay.
However, according to WebMD, there is no research that biotin causes weight gain.  Weight gain is typically caused by a calorie imbalance and certain medications, but not vitamins.


For women, the effects are observed during pregnancy. It is thought that high doses of this vitamin supplement may lead to a miscarriage.

It is important to note that a doctor should be consulted in cases of pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Biotin Adverse Effects

This vitamin is well tolerated if taken in recommended doses. Still, there are no cases of people developing adverse effects on taking biotin supplements.  People undergoing kidney dialysis may require extra biotin. Biotin is also known to reduce the efficiency of anti-seizure drugs and those that lower cholesterol.

The Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University reports one case of “life-threatening eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion in an elderly woman who took a combination of 10,000 mcg/day of biotin and 300 mg/day of pantothenic acid for two months.” It is unclear whether the adverse side effects of biotin condition were due to the combination of the two vitamins or another factor entirely.

Above are the biotin  side effects we could gather, probably there are other side effects you may be aware of that I did not discuss. Do feel free to add it below in the comment section.You contribution will be highly appreciated. So, from what you have read, What are the missing  Biotin Side Effects ?

More Interesting Biotin Information




  1. This article just helped me diagnose my acne problems and my bowel problems. My doctor is now interested in the increased sebum symptom as a guide to ask her patients if they are taking too much Biotin. I had no idea about amounts or asking her advice when I started taking it.. Thank-you for this article because it has made a difference! We thought it was acne in a senior citizen and bowel problems in a senior citizen! However, it was the amount of Biotin I was taking – 5000mcg !! I eat all the right things already. In the past, I knew I could make my skin, hair, and nails better taking a supplement and Alive Women’s has a much lower amount of Biotin, in the 300mcg ‘s range. A huge difference…Now I know the face rash will go away, and the bowel problems, too!

    1. I started taking Biotin about 3 years ago when my hair was receding because I sleep on my stomach even when I try not to. Think I started at 500 mcg and I thought it was working. My hairdresser did as well. I gradually increased dosage and have currently been at 10,000 mcg since April. My nails had gotten stronger, but now there are hard and dry and break easily. I’ve also developed small clear bumps all over my chest area. This afternoon I noticed them on the backs of my arms as well. This caused me to check online and I was happy I did. I’ve taken supplements for years and successfully lowered my BP to the point my doctor took me off meds. I eat right and exercise but could not understand where this rash was coming from. I stopped all Biotin today. I also had a weight gain of about 5-8 extra lbs and bowel problems, which had me wondering. I’m hoping this will resolve all of these issues over time. Need to start flushing out with extra water. Thank you for this article.

      1. Hi Nancy, I am glad you found this article helpful. Thank you for your contribution. Do forget to come back and share results.

    2. I have been taking it for a month. Just started face and neck break outs and other places on my body. Intense itching! Also weight gain! Stopping biotin!

    1. Hi Aleshia, thanks for your contribution. Other users have also experienced headaches. First you should always consult your doctor before taking any medication. Do drink lots of water while taking biotin. If the headache persists, you might consider taking a break or stopping it completely because your body is already reacting negatively to this supplement. Every biotin pill is not the same. Some users also claim that the smaller pills are better. Bigger biotin pills might be made up of unnecessary proprietary formula which may cause more side effects.

  2. I started taking Biotin about a month ago. I’m noticing that my face has started to break out all over and I’m getting rashes. I have stopped taking it to see if this is the reason I am breaking out. I have taken it before and stopped so I don’t understand why it would be giving me problems now.

    1. Hi Theladyreece, thanks for sharing your experience. There are users who have experienced breakouts but most of them are first-time users.Your case sounds unique. There might be an underlying problem. However, stopping the dosage is a sure way to establish if it is the core cause of the breakouts and rashes. Do remember to consult your doctor for further details about the condition.

  3. I stopped taking Viviscal and changed to Biotin after reading reviews about how good it was for your hair and nails. I am fit and active and slim, I found after a month of taking the high dose biotin that I started to feel terribly (permanently) bloated and started to gain weight, I understand that it obviously works ok for a lot of people which is good, but it definitely didn’t work for me. I have stopped taking it now and after a couple of days the bloating has gone and I have just lost one of the kilos I gained taking these pills. Be careful what you take, if you have a healthy diet maybe these supplements should be avoided.

    1. Hi Liz! Thanks a lot for your contribution. High dosage of biotin are not recommended especially for starters though some people go well with it. It is good to hear you figured out where you had gone wrong. It is always recommended that you seek advice from your doctor before taking any medication especially if you have any health problem. Always be cautious…

      1. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!!! You are not alone. I’m just like you… fit, active & slim. Before trying this “miracle drug”, I consulted the store’s pharmacist & read-up on it on-line. He said to start out on a low dose. (2500) Alas, as funny as this sounds, only my toenails grew. I didn’t experience any of the side effects I was prepared for from my research. Later, like you, after reading incredible reviews, I tried again w/ a higher dosage gummy. (5000) Almost Instantly, my stomach felt as solid as a brick w/ the same bloating. It was AWFUL!!! I also noticed weight gain. While only 5 lbs, it concerned me for, how much higher would it go?!? Once I stopped taking it, the symptoms ceased & I’m almost back down to my desired weight. I’ve finally come to peace that I’m just supposed to have stubby nails.

          1. No problem. I just know what it feels like to think you’re the only one. &, if Liz hadn’t shared, I would still think that. My sister in law has been taking it for some time & these experiences have prompted her to research it further. She’ll get my “leftovers”.

  4. Hi, I have noticed skin breakouts, lots of white heads , facial hairs and also hair on my body too. My question is, I have stopped taking it . Will it stop hair growing on my face and body and bumps on my face eventually? Or what can I do stop this?

    1. Hi Rhea, different individuals react to biotin differently. To some it works fine while for others it does not produce the expected results. Some users have also experienced similar effects like breakouts especially in cases of Biotin overdose. If you have established that Biotin is exactly what is causing all the effects then stopping taking the supplement should stop the effects. However, there might be other underlying issues that may be causing the effects and it is highly recommended that you consult your healthcare provide for further details.

  5. I took biotin at 500 mcg. I went to ER and they diagnosed me with Pleurisy – inflammation of the lungs. It felt like stabbing in my chest each time I breathed and only felt good when I was still and not breathing. Even morphine did not help the pain. I am a healthy mid-40’s woman with no other issues.
    BE CAREFUL WHEN TAKING THIS SUPPLEMENT. I purchased non GMO biotin with great reviews as well.

    1. Biotin will not cause your lungs to inflame. I wouldn’t jump the gun and say that just because you took a Biotin pill it caused something that serious. I understand it affects everyone differently, but to say that Biotin, which is an incredibly mild Vitamin, caused such a serious side effect would be irresponsible and misleading. I’m sure there was another issue that caused the inflammation, not the Biotin.

    2. I have been taking it for about 2 months andd a month ago developed fluid around my heart and lungs. Doctors are stumped. Maybe it was the 5000 mcg biotin?

  6. I started taking 10,000mcg of biotin about a month ago. I had no prior knowledge about this vitamin, I just happened to see it on the shelf at my local pharmacy and decided to take it. I have to say it has made my hair look and feel awesome and my nails are hard as a rock, also my skin isn’t ask dry as it used to be especially since it’s midwinter in Michigan which always makes my skin so so dry. For all the great things it has done there were two giant downsides which ultimately made me stop taking it. The first was the acne, I’m in my 30’s and my face blew up like I had just hit puberty again! (no thanks!) the second and biggest issue was the weight gain…. 35lbs in 1 month!! WHAT?!?! 1 MONTH!! That right there was enough for me, i quit as soon as I realized where the fault was, which was the biotin! I don’t know yet if I’m going to try it again, maybe once I regulate everything and get back to normal I might start over at a much smaller dose! Good luck all!!

    1. Hi Stacy thanks for sharing your experience. Some users, though of a minimal number, have also experienced breakouts. We’ve have also heard of very few cases of weight gain. However, it is worth noting that biotin also works well for a good number of users. A smaller dose can definitely work for you.

  7. I started on 10,000 dose 2 and 1/2 month ago mainly for hair loss. Started waking up with severe headaches and one time it was so severe that I thought could end up in A&E but braved it as I wasn’t sure the biotin is the cause. I can 100% say after this period that I have not seen any benefits of those claims, not on my hair or skin or nails, I have good skin & nails anyway, in fact I noticed my nails are becoming brittle and breaks easily whereas before they were more flexible. I bought a year supply so I thought to give it enough time but I don’t think there will be any improvement. After reading that it could cause weight gain that was the breaking point for me, I put on around 3kgs but there are other factors involved and I can not say for definite… also not prepared to continue to prove it being over weight already! My dermatologist proscribed kirkland 5% for me, I’ve been using it for two weeks plus the biotin, so far it is early days but I also read that it could cause weight gain & headaches for this reason I have to drop the biotin to at least lessen the side effects.

  8. I was unfortunate one who didn’t pick on signals on biotin. I wish I had never taken this. I am very active and had lost 18 pounds on p90x3 program. I started biotin and guess what I gained back 10 pounds under p90x3 program. I was bloated and didn’t think much of it until ten months later when I started unable to sleep. It became really bad that I couldn’t function. I started having hot flashes and night sweat over night. Doctors couldn’t figure out. Until light bulb went off in my mind Is it biotin? Went online and a lot women were experiencing same symptom as me. I got off April 16 and hot flashes went down in five days. I have been drinking 3 liters of water a day to flush it out of my system. It’s day 13 today and I can say I am sleeping much better. I took it for months so I think it’s going to take a while to get back to normal.

    I was taking 5000 mcg and pharmacy did say it’s well tolerated. I checked the bottle again and it does say don’t use it beyond 4 weeks without consulting Doctor. Interestingly I asked my doctor recently and he didn’t have any clue about it. So most GP don’t know much about it and would give green light to take it. GNC needs to change their recommendation. Don’t sell 150 pill bottle which should be taken only for 4 weeks. I hate myself for being so dumb. I can’t wait to get rid of this 100%.

    1. I have also experienced hot flashes shortly after starting to taking biotin regularly (2500 mcg daily). I stopped taking them and within 2 weeks the hot flashes were completely gone. Such a strange effect to have.

      1. Hello Shannon, thank you for sharing your experience. Checking around the web, other users have also experienced same side effect.

  9. I started taking biotin about 2 weeks ago and now my period is almost 1 week late. Is this a side effect?

    1. Hi Boops, a number of users on the internet online are having the same claims. The users, majorly from a couple of online forums say that when they started taking biotin their periods delayed. There is not enough scientific evidence to explain how biotin supplements affect periods. The information available is based on hearsay.

  10. hey i need a suggestion i brought biotin suppliment of 600 mcg for hair growth, i am 19 years old is it suitable for me to use. And its usage may not lead to acne or facial hair.

    1. Hi Helan, 30 mcg is the recommended dosage for your age. However, it is normally safe even in higher dosages. Some users have reported acne break outs as one the side effects of biotin. Hair on various parts of body is regulated by hormones. If you already have facial hair then there are chances that biotin will encourage more hair growth.

  11. Hi im 30yrs old guy I started taking biotin of nature’s bounty 5000 mcg after lunch, first day it is ok but second day when i i take this softgel after meal i feel very drowsy and got mild ache symtoms in left side of my chest and stomach upset, it caused heavy urination i feel very uncomfortable with dizziness.

    1. Hi Paul, thanks for your contribution. That means biotin does not work well with your body. Reduce the dosage and if the bad effects persist stop it. You can also check your to see if there is any underlying health issue within your body.

  12. I have to say that I noticed several ladies have mentioned being in their thirties, and this is one reason for the hair loss, but most of the symptoms they believe are related to this vitamin I was having bc I was in my 30’s before taking the vitamin. I had acne, weight gain, hair thinning, facial hair growing more, bloating, & hot flashes all bc of getting older and hormonal changes. I currently take 10,000mcg of biotin and it has helped my hair and skin, but not my nails to much. I believe I need to take calcium as well for that. ~C

  13. Thank you so much for your review. I have been taking 20,000 of biotin for about 2 weeks, and I haven’t seen any acne, but I seen blackheads pop up on my nose. “Crazy”! I never been an acne type, but I have notice weight gain. I am a slim,30 yr, mother of 4 and my normal weight is around 112-120..I’ve been slim all my life. I’ve picked up like what’s feels like 6 pounds, 2 weeks! As for my hair, I haven notice any changes…yet! Thanks for inspireing to tell my journey!

  14. Hi,
    Good morning, my name is Israel and am a community pharmacist. A patient of mine just started taking Biotin and now reports that she spots. Is this also part of Biotin side effect and what would be an appropriate counsel to her? Thanks

    1. Hi Israel, it is true that some users start getting breakouts or spots once they get on Biotin. One thing you should note is that each individual has a unique response; some people react to biotin while others do not. The best option is to let your patient stop taking the biotin supplements. It can be got from foods. Here is a list of foods with biotin If your patient MUST take biotin the supplements may be because of positive results, let her/him reduce the dosage and, as some users suggest, ensure to take lots of water.

  15. I am a woman in my 50s. My nails were shredding, breaking, bending and separating from the finger deep down behind the nail. My hands were miserable.
    While at the dermatologist for a skin condition he saw my nails and recommended I take biotin. He prescribed 500mcg twice daily. I’ve been taking it three weeks–about once or twice a day. My nails are now becoming firm and there is no separation of the nail from the finger. I haven’t notice a change in my hair or skin. I am noticing in the last couple of days, that I have an allergic reaction to something, inside my soft palate area of my mouth/throat. Not sure if it related. It is almost as though the skin is burned. I think I’ll pull back to 500mcg. I don’t want to have adverse reactions.

    1. Hi Jay, thanks for your contribution. Though this kind of allergic reaction is not common, it is true that different individuals react to biotin differently. You are right. The best action is to pull back and examine what will happen. Please remember to come back and share your findings.

  16. I have been taking 10,000mcg for the past 5 months after doing lots of research, i had really brittle nails and my hair was falling out. Biotin has been amazing for me, my nails are now strong and healthy, my hair is thick and shiny, my skin is growing and ive actually lost 8lbs without changing anything else. Im so happy with it.

  17. Biotin from Nature’s Bounty almost killed me. 4 out of 5 of the ingredients listed on the bottles side effects I received. So its not as safe as this website is making it seem. Its many cases out there that I looked up speaking major volumes on the said safety of this product.

    1. Hello Zachariah, Biotin does not work for everyone. The website is talking about Biotin(generic). We are yet to review Nature’s Bounty. Thank you for your contribution though

  18. Hi i’m concerned about my hair growth ,my hair get’s so short today 6/3/2017 i started my first bottle of Nature’s Bounty Biotin Supplement i read alot of reviews online about other brands ,i hope this one worked for me.

  19. I have been taking Biotin for several months. The last time my husband picked up a new bottle for me, I didn’t realize he got the 5,000 mcg, by accident. I am in my mid-50’s, have always been small/thin and have never had a weight problem until recently. In fact, I emailed my doctor a couple days ago and asked what could be wrong, as I am gaining weight (10 pounds in the past few months) and my eating/ activity level have not changed. I have been feeling puffy, bloated and swollen, 24/7. I can’t sleep and am getting headaches. I also am running hot all the time, when before I was always cold. I had a complete hysterectomy 17 years ago, so I know it is not menopause. Tonight it hit me that perhaps it could be the Biotin, as that is the only thing I have changed. That is what prompted me to go on line to see if Biotin can cause weight gain. I am so happy I read this! I am going to stop completely and see if the weight comes off. I have been so miserable and getting depressed from the weight gain. I have been exercising more and still cannot lose any weight; I can actually gain 4 pounds in one day! I will let you know the results.

    1. Hello Barbara, thanks for your contribution. Quite a good number of users say that they have gained weight after taking biotin. We will appreciate to hear your results

  20. I have tried taking Biotin from multiple different companies assuming that it may be the combination from the brand that was making me ill and not just the Biotin itself. Lately I tried the Nature’s Made Biotin Gummy which is 3000mcg. Let me tell you 2 gummies with meals 1x a day gives me heart burn and after a week I have nausea, dizziness, and headaches, and very gassy. Unfortunately Biotin supplements do not work for me and I will get my daily dose from whole foods instead.

  21. I started taking biotin 1000mcg plus 300mcg in multivitamin due to hair thinning. I started noticing that i’m gaining weight. Total weight gain of 5lbs in 1 month. And I’m usually on the same diet and active due to my field of work. And I’ve read all the comments here that them too had the same side effects. I’m going to cut down on biotin. Would recommend to just take the one in the multivitamin.

    1. Hello Shaine, quite a number of users say that it is possible to gain weight when you take biotin. Simply cut down on the biotin.

  22. I take the 5,000 mcg. Have been taking it for six months. No side effects at all. My hair is growing and nails are stronger. Skin is not as dry. I had a hysterectomy at the age of 24. Ovaries shut down due to stress. I am now 56. I feel and look better and healthier. It works for me :)!

    1. Some users(a very small number) have complained of prolonged menstruation when using biotin. How this vitamin contributes to this effect is not clear.

  23. I was taking 10,000 mcg a day for a couple weeks and now I’m expecting scalp burning. Along with that my face, more specifically my forehead, started to feel hot. Think I’m done using this stuff.

  24. I also have been taking biotin for a month now and have noticed that i am gaining weight , bloated , feel generally unwell. And also my period hasn’t came. This is very odd and has never happens beside. ! I’m not pregnant. I’m amazed to see how many others are experiencing the same as me ! Will stop taking it completely for the next month and see if my body goes back to normal. ! I feel really quite unwell !! Not sure if it’s this but will see on one month !!

  25. I am about to start biotin.. but right now ii
    Pregnant.. just wanted to know if it is safe to use.. and howmany dose does a pregnant lady has to take… iv massive hair loss… wanted to treat for that n found out about biotin..

    1. Pregnant women: 30 mcg
      Lactating women: 35 mcg
      That is the recommended dosage. It is generally thought to be safe. Some individuals sit well with even higher doses but before you try it consult your doctor for more details.

  26. I am taking Biotin 10,000mcg and my prolactin level is abnormal. I did some research and found out that “Prolactin is significantly affected even at low levels (Biotin 1.5 ng/mL).”

  27. I started taking 1,250 mcg biotin per day about a month ago. Over the past few days I have developed severe bloating, trapped gas and itchy skin. No more biotin for me. I feel like crap.

  28. I am a 74 year old female. I went to a Chiropractic Internist who gave me a list of supplements to take for health issues I was having (including thinning hair and nails). He prescribed two 8 mg. capsules 3 times a day, along with other vitamins and supplements. That seemed to help some when I started taking it about 3 years ago. It appeared to help less after a while. He said, if anything I should take more. So, I continued taking the 6 capsules a day, afraid that if I stopped it might cause a problem. I am still taking the biotin, but would like to stop. I don’t trust this doctor, after reading this blog. Not sure what I should do. It is a very expensive supplement, but having had a mother and a grandmother with very thin hair, I just keep taking it. I am wondering if, after taking so much for so long, it would have an adverse effect if I cut way down on it.

    1. Hello, Jo everyone reacts to biotin differently. To some individuals it is safe while to others it may cause some side effects. Generally it is thought to be safe even in large doses. If you’ve been using it and you’ve not had issues then it means your body sits well with the supplement. Your doctor is the right person to give you the best information on how much your body needs.

  29. I took biotin 10,000 mcg for about 3-4 days and then my period started being late. I stopped 2 days ago and still havent gotten my period (4 days late and counting). How long should it take? Is there anything i should do?

  30. I started taking Biotin 10,000 mcg about a week ago. Right away i started experiencing cramps and diarrhea, but today i noticed blood in my stool. I feel i should have researched the supplement more before taking it. Lesson learned. Have others experienced anything like this?

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