Biotin In High Doses Dangerously Skews Lab Test Results

Dec 05 2017

Biotin In High Doses Dangerously Skews Lab Test Results

Biotin also known as vitamin B7, in high doses, can interfere with accurate results of common lab tests, warns the FDA. Biotin is added to many dietary supplements, and has been found to skew lab test results, including tests used by ER doctors to diagnose heart attacks.  The problem has led to at least one death.




Biotin:  How and Where Is It Used

Biotin is added to many multivitamins. It’s also sold in formulas that are marketed to improve hair and nail growth. A 5- to 10-milligram dose, an amount that is usually added to supplements, is 166% to 333% more than the 30 micrograms most people need in their diets every day.

In addition, doctors sometimes prescribe high doses to treat nerve pain called neuropathy. Currently, it is also being studied as a treatment for multiple sclerosis.

High dosages can also skew lab test results in both directions. In some cases, high doses cause high score false test results, whereas in others, test results are false low.


Biotin: Misdiagnosis

Troponin is a protein which rises after heart muscle has been damaged. Doctors administer the troponin test in the emergency room to find out if a patient’s chest pain is from heartburn or a heart attack.

Recently, a patient who taking high levels of biotin died when the troponin test failed to show he was having a heart attack, reports the FDA..

Moreover, excessive biotin levels skewed lab test data and led doctors to diagnose Graves’ disease in children and adults.   Graves’ is an autoimmune disease that elevates thyroid hormone in these populations. Biotin added to supplements, can also skew tests for heart failure, pregnancy, cancer, and iron-deficiency anemia.


Biotin: Skewed Data -Ignorance or Laziness To Fix Problem

Physicians are aware of the problem,  says Dr. Danni Li, PhD, director of clinical chemistry at the University of Minnesota Medical Center.Li and her colleagues demonstrated this problem with an experiment. They asked six healthy adults to take 10 milligrams of biotin as a dietary supplement for a week. They tested their blood for nine different hormones before and after they took the supplements. 40% of the tests results were skewed. 

Biotin: Excessive Dosages 

The FDA says it is currently working with physicians to better understand biotin effects on laboratory tests, as well as developing recommendations for safe testing in patients.

To stay safe, Li says patients should check their vitamin bottles for biotin. Learn how much you’re taking, and tell your doctor you’re taking it at your next visit. She says lab directors can sometimes change tests if they suspect biotin might be a problem.

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Barry G

Barry graduated from City University of New York and holds a Ph.D. in Physiological Psychology.

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