Unless you’ve been MIA for the past few years, you know that biotin is the holy grail for fabulous hair, nails, and skin. Why? Your hair, skin, and nails are made up of a protein called keratin (yes, like the semi-permanent hair straightening treatment you get to tame your locks). Biotin helps to improve your keratin levels, and as a result, strengthens your hair, skin, and nails. Research is limited on the success of taking biotin, but from the countless celebrities who promote biotin-rich gummies (or start feuds over them—I’m talking to you, James and Tati) and from my own friends’ personal experiences, it can work. Want long locks? Biotin. Nails that won’t break? Biotin. Hydrated and acne-free skin? Biotin. Or so we’ve been told by the beauty industry. But there’s surely a catch, right? We can’t have nice things without consequences, RIGHT?? Ugh, you know the world too well. Of course, there is.
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What’s the catch?
Recent research has shown that biotin can skew medical tests. Uhh, what? The FDA warns that taking an excess of biotin, also known as B7, can cause tests to come back falsely negative or positive. In a recent statement, the FDA said that there has been “an increase in the number of reported adverse events [injuries associated with medical care] related to biotin interference with lab tests.” Yikes. Some common tests that can be impacted by your biotin pills and cause possible misdiagnoses include troponin (diagnose heart attacks), vitamin D levels, thyroid and other hormone tests, such as parathyroid hormone and cortisol.
The recommended dose for biotin is 30 micrograms, but many of the pills on the market range from 5,000 to 10,000 micrograms. For example, the beloved SugarBearHair gummies contain 5,000 micrograms of biotin, 1667% of your daily recommended dose. That’s not a typo—that is way more than you need every day. But, despite the potential test complications, taking that much Biotin all the time doesn’t necessarily pose an immediate health risk. Since biotin is a water-soluble vitamin (meaning you pee out any excess of the vitamin in your system), overdosing is unlikely, according to Health Line. TG for small miracles.
So should I stop taking my gummies?
Wow, don’t do anything drastic. While biotin can skew some medical results, it doesn’t mean it will skew all of them. The best thing to do? Tell your doc that you’re taking biotin (and any other meds or vitamins) before you get any testing done. This way, they can advise you on if you need to stop taking the pills for a period of time before getting bloodwork or to keep it in mind when they analyze your results. If you want hair that makes people think you bought it, and you feel like the supplements are helping, and your doctor is fully aware and on board, stick to taking the pills.
If you’re now worried about taking biotin (sorry), there are tons of foods to help you get your daily dose in. Almonds, egg yolks, spinach, and sweet potatoes are just a few foods that can help with your locks.
This article originally appeared on Betches Lifestyle.