Drugs Q & A

Does Biotin Cause Weight Gain?

Several medications can cause weight fluctuations; most times it is not the drug but the side effects from the drug. Some drugs stimulate or dampen your appetite, and as a result, you eat more or less. Others may affect how your body absorbs and stores glucose, which can lead to fat deposits in the midsection of your body. Some cause calories to be burned faster or slower by changing your body’s metabolism. Others cause shortness of breath and fatigue, making it difficult for people to exercise. Other drugs can cause you to retain water, which adds weight but not necessarily fat.

How much weight is gained or lost varies from person to person and from drug to drug. Some people may gain a few pounds throughout the course of a year, other people can gain 10, 20, or more pounds in just a few months while others lose weight significantly. Because many of these medications are taken for chronic conditions, you may use them for several years with their use contributing to significant weight gain or loss over time.

Research suggests a growing number of people take drugs that cause weight gain — most notably, for conditions that are exacerbated by excess weight. Drawing on data from the 2017-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a recent study published in Obesity found that 1 in 5 U.S. adults take at least one medication that causes weight gain.

Weight gain may not seem like a big deal, especially if you’re treating a life-threatening condition. But in less serious scenarios, the added weight can compromise your overall health. People with obesity are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Even modest weight gain — we’re talking five to 20 pounds — can have negative health effects, one study shows.

What is biotin?

Biotin also known as vitamin H, is one of the B complex vitamins that help the body convert food into energy. According to Healthline the word “biotin” comes from the ancient Greek word “biotos,” which means “life” or “sustenance.” B vitamins, and specifically biotin, help keep your skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system healthy. Biotin is also a crucial nutrient during pregnancy, as it’s important for embryonic growth.

Most people get the biotin they need from eating a healthy diet, but there have been many claims that getting more biotin can regulate your blood sugar, promote healthy hair, skin, and nails, and help pregnant moms have healthier babies. How much biotin is enough, where can you get it, and what can it really do for you?

Between 30 and 100 micrograms (mcg) per day of biotin is often recommended for adolescents and adults. Because it’s water-soluble, extra biotin will simply pass through your body when you urinate. While most people can handle biotin supplements, some people report mild side effects like nausea and digestive issues. There are no known toxicity symptoms associated with too much biotin.

Does Biotin Cause Weight Gain?

No, taking Biotin does not make you gain weight. In fact, studies indicate that taking biotin supplements can promote weight loss rather than weight gain.  Biotin 5000 Mcg (1 tablet) contains 0g total carbs, 0g net carbs, 0g fat, 0g protein, and 0 calories. But it can help you burn calories because it is involved in important metabolic pathways such as gluconeogenesis, fatty acid synthesis, and amino acid catabolism.

However, if you stopped taking biotin and lost weight, it might be due to a decrease in appetite which occurs in some people. Biotin can increase appetite in some people which makes them hungrier, eat more, and add weight. When they stop taking the supplement, the appetite boost is lost and a continued loss of appetite can cause weight loss.

Side Effects of Biotin

The FDA has warned that biotin might interfere with specific laboratory tests. It stated that samples from people who had consumed high levels of biotin through supplements could provide “clinically significant incorrect” laboratory results.

The FDA reported an increase in adverse effects due to falsely high or low results. A high concentration of biotin in samples can compromise diagnostic tests in which biotin is a key component.

This may be the case for tests looking at troponin levels and thyroid function. According to an analysis, most biotin-related false results occur in thyroid disease-related tests.

In addition, those who frequently eat raw eggs in recipes for mayonnaise, Caesar dressing, or eggnog may want to reconsider. A protein in raw eggs called avidin can bind to biotin, preventing its absorption. Cooked eggs are not an issue because avidin is broken down when heated.

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