How Do I Use Biotin for Weight Loss?

Sara Anastasia
Sara Anastasia
Beef is a source of biotin.
Beef is a source of biotin.

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

Diary products are a source of biotin.
Diary products are a source of biotin.

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 Basics

Mushrooms are a source of biotin.
Mushrooms are a source of biotin.

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.

Carrots are a source of biotin.
Carrots are a source of biotin.

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

Spinach is a source of biotin.
Spinach is a source of biotin.

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

Wheat bran contains biotin.
Wheat bran contains biotin.

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.

Cauliflower is a source of biotin.
Cauliflower is a source of biotin.

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.

How Does Biotin Work?

Biotin is available in tablet and capsule form.
Biotin is available in tablet and capsule form.

As a B vitamin, biotin plays many important roles in the body, from keeping your hair and nails strong to supporting nerve health. Vitamin B7 is closely related to a healthy metabolism. This essential vitamin assists certain enzymes in creating positive fatty acids, glucose and amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins such as keratin, one of the main components in healthy hair, nails and skin.

In simple terms, biotin helps your body break down the foods you eat into energy. It assists in keeping your metabolism functioning smoothly. Your metabolism is responsible for generating energy for countless different body processes:

  • Blood circulation
  • Breathing
  • Mental performance
  • Endurance
  • Digestion
  • Creation of new cells
  • Healing and tissue repair
  • Temperature control
At least 300 micrograms of biotin taken daily may be needed to lose weight.
At least 300 micrograms of biotin taken daily may be needed to lose weight.

An active metabolism can help you have the energy you need to run faster and longer. It can keep you alert and boost your mental focus and memory. You can build muscle and keep your heart in excellent shape. Even your skin and hair benefit from a strong metabolism.

What is the connection between metabolism and weight loss? When you have an active metabolism, calories from food are more likely to be used up as energy instead of turning into fat. Your metabolism transforms carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy packets that keep your body going. Even when resting, you’re burning more calories than a person with poor metabolic activity. The effect is even greater when paired with exercise.

Can Taking Biotin Boost Your Metabolism for Weight Loss?

A weight loss supplement is no substitute for regular exercise and good eating habits.
A weight loss supplement is no substitute for regular exercise and good eating habits.

While biotin is essential for a healthy, active metabolism, that doesn’t necessarily mean that taking vitamin B7 supplements can help you lose weight. It all comes down to whether you’re getting sufficient biotin for your body’s needs. Once your body has enough biotin, taking extra with supplements doesn’t appear to have any effect on weight loss.

If you have a deficiency in biotin and other B vitamins, you are likely to experience metabolic issues:

  • Increased weight gain
  • Lower energy levels
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Depression or irritation
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Hair loss
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches

People who are deficient in vitamin B7 may be able to normalize their metabolism by increasing the amount of biotin they get. The best way to get B vitamins is by eating a healthy diet, but you can also use supplements if needed.

Whole grain breads are high in biotin, which is also known as vitamin B7.
Whole grain breads are high in biotin, which is also known as vitamin B7.

Some people think that if low biotin hurts weight loss, then high levels of biotin should help you lose weight. Unfortunately, there aren’t any scientific studies that prove this connection. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that when your body has sufficient levels, anything extra is simply excreted in your urine.

How Much Biotin Should I Take To Lose Weight?

So far, no scientific evidence connects biotin supplements with weight loss. Some people claim that taking high levels of vitamin B7 has helped them to burn fat more quickly, but those claims are purely anecdotal. In other words, they’re not backed up by any credible studies. This makes it hard to set any kind of recommendation for how much biotin you need to lose weight.

There isn’t any Recommended Daily Allowance for this vitamin, but there is an Adequate Intake level that can help you make sure you’re getting enough in your diet. According to the Institute of Medicine, the daily AI for biotin is 30 micrograms in the case of people age 19 and over.

One large egg contains 10 mcg of biotin, and 1 cup of almonds has around 6 mcg. Many fruits, vegetables, legumes and meats have significant amounts of vitamin B7. In addition, good bacteria in the gut also produce some biotin. For these reasons, in the United States, biotin deficiency is rare. As long as your family eats a balanced diet, it’s fairly easy to get the amount of biotin you need.

What if you want to take high levels of biotin supplements to see if they help you lose weight personally? For most people, there are no risks or side effects to taking vitamin B7 or B complex vitamins. You shouldn’t take more than 2.5 mg a day, however. If you’re pregnant or nursing, though, you should speak with your doctor before taking high-dose biotin supplements.

Does Biotin Cause Weight Gain?

There is no scientific evidence suggesting that biotin causes weight gain. Some people claim that high doses of vitamin B7 increase your appetite — making you eat more — but this hasn't been proven by any studies. If you notice that biotin makes you more hungry, you may want to lower the dose or eat healthy snacks, such as protein-rich nuts and fruits and vegetables high in fiber.

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Discussion Comments

anon996884

Started taking Biotin about 2 months ago. My metabolism has improved greatly and I have so much more energy. In addition my hair and nails are growing and are strong but overall the best benefit to taking Biotin is that my glucose levels are in control, helping me to lose 26 pounds!

nathalie0115

@Rebecca: I regrew my hair and you can too. I've been using hair extensions since forever. My hair wouldn't grow any longer it would just snap off. I've dreamed about having natural, thick, long hair. And when I say dreamed, I mean it quite literally. So I decided to do something about it. My friend suggested Biotin when we were talking about my hair loss.

I tried like, four different brands until I found that the best one for me. Now I’m 26 and I've been taking Biotin every day for years. My hair and nails grow so much quicker. Hair has increased in the rate and is so long now.

Also my energy levels are high. I remember that at the beginning I did heavy cardio and interval training which helped me lose weight fast but I did not realize how biotin played a part in my weight loss until after I stopped working out. I continue to take biotin every day and now that I am no longer on my diet I eat whatever i want and i don't gain weight. It appears the biotin may be keeping my metabolism to the level it was at during my training. So I highly recommend it to you.

Rebecca16

My hair has always been my pride and joy. I figured since it is pretty damn healthy, it could deal with some extensions. I was wrong, and now I want to burst into tears every time I look at my natural hair. I just don't know what to do. My hair has also never been shorter than this and it breaks and falls out. What should I do to regrow hair?

lizaF

Biotin is great and really has helped me! 10 000mcg was too much for me though.

My energy levels are high. I remember that at the beginning I did cardio and interval training which helped me lose weight, but I did not realize how biotin played a part in my weight loss until after I stopped working out. I continue to take biotin 5,000 mcg every day and now that I am no longer on my diet I eat whatever I want and I don't gain weight. It appears the biotin may be keeping my metabolism to the level it was at during my training.

Also my hair and nails grow so much quicker. Hair has increased in the rate and are so long now. Dreams come true.

I've been taking 5,000mcg of Biotin every day for years. I’ve tried like four different brands until i found that the best one for me.

Jessica74

Does biotin really help you lose weight? Some recommendations?

anon992204

It's not about weight loss, even though I am a bit obese. I was recommended by a friend who was also a doctor, to take over the counter biotin for the purpose of healing of my stomach wall lining, in which I was having adverse reactions to eating hamburger.

After I started taking biotin for a few months, my reactions to hamburgers subsided and I could eat hamburger again. It's the fat in the hamburger which I was having a reaction with. This was about nine years ago.

Now, a month ago, I started having reactions again but from different food which has fat in them, such as bacon, etc. I decided to take biotin once again, since it is so cheap to buy them at a store, and it's working just like it did before.

This time, I am going to follow simple outlines in losing weight along with taking biotin along with regular exercise and eating proper, healthy food. I am sure this will work as I do not have the inherited "no fat gene."

anon971586

@Julies -- It helps speed metabolism and works as an enzyme to break down your macros to burn fat more efficiently. People have reported in fitness forums that they lost inches and a few pounds with biotin and have a lot of energy.

I take it in the night but it's time to start taking it in the morning so I don't get fatigued nor tired.

anon931539

I have been taking Biotin for almost a month. I went to see my friend and she told me that I lost weight. Yes! I can feel that I lost weight but I started taking Biotin for my nails, hair and skin and I also take B complex vitamin with vitamin C.

I am also watching what I am eating. Biotin works and just because your appetite increases, that does not mean that you should eat more and not exercise. Be wise: no soda of any type, more fruits and veggies and fish, water and rest enough, too.

anon316805

I take biotin daily and love it. It increases my appetite tremendously but I don't pig out and overdo it so the weight has just melted off. I chew gum and snack frequently since it's speeding up my metabolism. Also I have found that my nails and hair are growing extremely fast.

I actually started taking this when I realized I was eating maybe once a day -- I just was never hungry. I was always tired. just wanted to stay home and sleep. So not only has this little miracle pill got my healthy again but its really made me feel good again.

anon294938

I have been using Biotin and I have an increase in appetite and have gained weight and also now it has me swelling up in my legs and feet. I have a hard time walking because of so much pressure in my feet and legs. It feels like my body is holding water all over. I have gained up to 10 pounds since I started taking this. I am stopping right away.

bluedolphin

Has anyone experienced side effects with biotin?

I've been taking 1000 mcg per day for the past month. The first couple of weeks, the only side effect I noticed was that it increased my appetite. I might have lost weight with biotin but since I started eating more, I think it has balanced out and I haven't lost any weight.

And then, last week, I suddenly developed a bad acne breakout on my face. I haven't done anything different and the only cause I can think of is the biotin.

I think I'm going to stop taking it. I've been taking a break from it for the past two days.

Just curious, has anyone else had these side effects with biotin, or is it just me?

candyquilt

@LisaLou-- 300 mcg is not a lot, that's how much biotin your body needs per day for various functions. Considering that not all of the biotin supplement might get absorbed by our body, I think 500 mcg is a good place to start. If this dose helps you lose weight and feel good, you can continue it. If you feel that you need to increase it, you can go up to 1 mg a day or more.

@burcinc-- I don't think that we know the exact amount our body can absorb. It might depend on the person and the circumstances. But I have heard that it is around 3 mg. Most biotin supplements recommend taking no more than 5 mg a day. If you take that much, I think it will be fine but there it's also likely that some of that is just being excreted through urine.

So keeping within the 3 mg range is probably a good idea. You might want to check with your doctor just in case. This is just what I've heard from various people. I personally only take 500 mcg per day and it is enough for me. I am losing weight, but it's not quick weight loss. I've been losing about two pounds per month.

burcinc

I thought that biotin was just a supplement for healthy hair. I had no idea that it helps promote weight loss! That's very interesting.

I'm doing a weight loss program right now. I don't take any supplements other than a multivitamin. I'm also afraid of taking supplements that claim to promote weight loss. But since biotin is a natural vitamin that our body already needs and uses, I think it might have less risks than other weight loss supplements.

Has anyone been using biotin for weight loss? What kind of biotin supplement do you use and at what dose? Has it benefited you?

Also, since biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, don't we need to know the maximum amount of biotin that our body can absorb? Because if I were to take a biotin supplement at a higher dose than what my body can absorb, I would basically be paying to flush the biotin down the toilet, right?

myharley

There certainly isn't a lack of weight loss supplements out there to try. If I am going to use a "pill" to help me lose weight, I would feel better about using something like biotin than some of the other pills that have a lot of chemicals in them.

It also sounds like biotin would be safe for you to consume as a supplement since your body doesn't store any of the excess. As I read through the list of foods that have biotin in them, there aren't very many of them that I like or consume on a regular basis.

I wouldn't be opposed to trying biotin to lose some weight. If I included this with my multi-vitamin every day, it may be the extra boost I need to get my metabolism going.

LisaLou

Taking 300 micrograms of biotin in a day seems like a lot to me. It is probably safer than some of the weight loss pills that are out there, but I have never been one to take very many supplements.

It seems to me, since the excess is eliminated through waste, it would be better to spread this out throughout the day if you wanted to get the most benefit from it. If you took all of this in the morning, I would think most of it would be eliminated before it had a change to do any good.

I have been through so many weight loss plans and maybe am a bit cynical when it comes to trying something new. It seems as if all of them work if you are consistent and stick with it.

Once you get off the plan though, the weight comes back and you are right back where you started from.

andee

@julies-- I have used biotin as part of a weight loss plan and think that it probably did play a part in my losing weight. It is hard to pinpoint how effective this was because I made many changes at the same time.

Like this article points out, this should not be substituted for poor nutrition and lack of exercise. When I started taking the biotin I also made changes in my eating habits, and became more consistent with my exercise.

I will say I was surprised at the energy I had, but again, this was probably the combination of many factors as well. I still take biotin on a daily basis as I know it is good for me, and don't think I consume enough of the foods that naturally contain biotin.

julies

I have tried many different weight loss programs, but have never heard of using biotin for weight loss. I used to sell nutrition products, and one thing that was always stressed was how much biotin was in your multi-vitamin.

Evidently, biotin is one of the more expensive B vitamins, and many supplements will not include as much of this as other B vitamins in their supplements.

I know that the B-complex vitamins are known for giving you energy. If you were to use biotin for weight loss maybe that would help combat some of the fatigue that you experience when you start to reduce calories.

I know that biotin is safe for you to consume and might have to do some more research about using this for weight loss. Has anyone been successful using this?

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    • Beef is a source of biotin.
      By: JJAVA
      Beef is a source of biotin.
    • Diary products are a source of biotin.
      By: Dmytro Sukharevskyy
      Diary products are a source of biotin.
    • Mushrooms are a source of biotin.
      By: Tim UR
      Mushrooms are a source of biotin.
    • Carrots are a source of biotin.
      By: Dionisvera
      Carrots are a source of biotin.
    • Spinach is a source of biotin.
      By: nito
      Spinach is a source of biotin.
    • Wheat bran contains biotin.
      By: Vidady
      Wheat bran contains biotin.
    • Cauliflower is a source of biotin.
      By: ExQuisine
      Cauliflower is a source of biotin.
    • Biotin is available in tablet and capsule form.
      By: Louella Folsom
      Biotin is available in tablet and capsule form.
    • At least 300 micrograms of biotin taken daily may be needed to lose weight.
      By: Minerva Studio
      At least 300 micrograms of biotin taken daily may be needed to lose weight.
    • A weight loss supplement is no substitute for regular exercise and good eating habits.
      By: Lsantilli
      A weight loss supplement is no substitute for regular exercise and good eating habits.
    • Whole grain breads are high in biotin, which is also known as vitamin B7.
      By: AAA
      Whole grain breads are high in biotin, which is also known as vitamin B7.