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.
How Does Biotin Work?
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
- Mental performance
- Creation of new cells
- Healing and tissue repair
- Temperature control
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?
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
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.
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.