Most people who are looking to use biotin for weight loss take large, concentrated doses of the supplement at about the same time each day for a period of several months. Biotin is also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, and in high volumes it can improve the body’s metabolism and energy processing. This doesn’t usually lead to immediate weight loss, but over time it can make digestion more efficient, and people often feel fuller longer and tend to be less likely to overeat as a result. It can also stabilize blood glucose, which can prevent fat storage. Biotin occurs naturally in many different foods, but not usually in large enough amounts to really impact weight loss. Most experts say that, to get results, you’ll need to look for supplements or other multivitamins that are biotin-heavy, and commit to a regimen of taking them for the long term. Despite being an “all-natural” plan, this sort of supplementation isn’t always safe for everyone, though. It’s usually a good idea to talk about the risks and benefits with your healthcare provider before getting started.
Why it Works
Nailing down the exact relationship between biotin and weight loss can be a bit tricky, but a basic understanding of the supplement and how it works can make it easier to get good results. Simply speaking, high levels of biotin play a role in the conversion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins into glucose, which is useable energy for the body. This reduces the likelihood that these nutrients will be stored away as fat. Biotin also helps the nervous system use calories more efficiently and, therefore, may reduce the feelings of fatigue that commonly accompany diet restrictions and exercise. Regular consumption can also make you feel less hungry, which means you’re more likely to eat less.
Biotin is a natural element that is present in many common foods. Animal sources include beef, saltwater fish, poultry, and dairy products. In the vegetable kingdom, cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, legumes, soy, and greens such as spinach are all good sources; rice, oats and wheat bran are other examples. Molasses and brewer’s yeast typically have high concentrations, too. From a dietary perspective, an adequate amount is usually from 30 micrograms to 100 micrograms a day. When you’re trying to lose weight, though, you’ll probably want to take at least 300 micrograms a day, which is significantly more than most foods contain.
Getting these sorts of concentrations almost always means you’ll need to buy a special supplement. These are available in many health food shops, and are also sold alongside multivitamins in many grocery and general stores. It’s usually available as a capsule that you swallow, but it might also come as a powder. You may have to check the label for accurate dosing instructions, since different preparations are designed for different purposes. A lot of people take biotin for things like nail strengthening and hair health, for instance, and the dosing may be a bit different in these cases.
Tips for Maximizing Benefits
To maximize the usage of biotin for weight loss, other B vitamins usually need to be present. What this means in practical terms is that you’ll want to be sure that you’re either taking the supplements with a hearty meal or as a part of a multivitamin that includes some of these important compounds. Biotin works especially well with choline and B5, or pantothenic acid, for enhancing metabolism. This and the rest of the B-complex vitamins need to be taken with food for optimal absorption. It is a water-soluble vitamin, so any excess is excreted with urine and there’s not really any risk of overdosing.
Risks and Precautions
It’s important to keep in mind that biotin for weight loss is by no means a “wonder drug” or a single solution. Even excessive amounts of the compound cannot compensate for undisciplined eating and a lack of physical activity. Experts usually advise patients that biotin cannot be used as a sole means for weight loss and should accompany a caloric deficit created through a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
There are also a number of interaction and drug safety concerns to keep in mind. Excessive alcohol intake, for instance, can flush biotin from the body, which prevents it from being absorbed no matter how much you’re taking. Poor absorption of food as a result of intestinal problems or reduced intestinal flora resulting from prolonged use of antibiotics or birth control can also interfere with absorption, and can cause serious side effects when mixed with certain prescription drugs, too. People often don’t think about supplements and vitamins as drugs, and don’t always think to mention them to their doctors or other care providers. Getting your provider’s approval before starting a regimen is the best way to stay healthy and avoid potentially serious problems.