How Do I Use Biotin for Weight Loss?

Beef is a source of biotin.
At least 300 micrograms of biotin taken daily may be needed to lose weight.
Whole grain breads are high in biotin, which is also known as vitamin B7.
Biotin is available in tablet and capsule form.
Wheat bran contains biotin.
A weight loss supplement is no substitute for regular exercise and good eating habits.
Cauliflower is a source of biotin.
Article Details
  • Originally Written By: Sara Anastasia
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2014
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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

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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

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.

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Discuss this Article

anon971586
Post 11

@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
Post 10

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
Post 9

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
Post 8

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
Post 7

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
Post 6

@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
Post 5

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
Post 4

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
Post 3

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
Post 2

@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
Post 1

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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