Can you take Biotin while breastfeeding?

Can you take Biotin supplements while breastfeeding?

Just like with pregnancy, breastfeeding often comes with many recommendations, guidelines and information. Some may come from trusted sources, and others from peers who mean well, but unfortunately often spread misinformation.

New moms may often wonder whether taking Biotin supplements while breastfeeding is safe and necessary.

Whether you’re having to take it due to a true deficiency, a medical condition or for the health benefits that it offers.

You may also have heard that one of the B vitamins can reduce the milk supply, but is this true? Or is it just another breastfeeding myth? Does it affect breast milk and the milk supply?

What is Biotin?

Biotin, also known as vitamin B or Vitamin H, is a B-complex vitamin which is necessary for the formation of fatty acids and glucose, which are used as fuels by the body, in other words energy for your body.

Biotin is important for the metabolism of amino acids and carbohydrates. Biotin also helps keep your skin, eyes, liver and nervous system healthy.

It’s also highly popular due to the claims of its role in hair growth, especially after postpartum hair loss, and overall hair health.

Biotin is also a crucial vitamin during pregnancy, as it’s important for embryonic growth.

The benefits of Biotin

Hair, nail, and skin health

There are many claims that Biotin is beneficial for hair, nail and skin health. This is the reason most people choose to supplement with Biotin.

Signs of Biotin deficiency include skin rashes, brittle nails and hair loss. Therefore, it makes sense that biotin supplements are often promoted for hair, nail and skin health.

But in reality, supplementing with Biotin will only help with nails, hair and skin health if the issues were due to a Biotin deficiency in the first place.

There are only some reported cases and small, lower quality studies on Biotin being beneficial for hair, nail and skin health. Research lacks to prove these claims.

Human body functions

That being said, Biotin is still a very important vitamin needed for the body to function as it should, and that is enough benefits to make sure that you have healthy levels of Biotin.

As already mentioned above, Biotin is necessary to help metabolize fatty acids and carbohydrates to help fuel the body.

May reduce multiple sclerosis symptoms

A 2021 review of three studies involving 889 people diagnosed with MS found moderate evidence suggesting that high-dose Biotin supplements delivering at least 300 milligrams of Biotin per day administered for 12 to 15 months may help improve symptoms in people with progressive MS (PMS).

May help reduce blood sugar and blood lipid levels in people with type 2 diabetes

A 2022 review that included five studies and 445 participants found that supplementation with Biotin in doses ranging from 1.5-15 mg per day for 28 to 90 days significantly decreased levels of fasting blood sugar, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.

More research is needed.

Supports fetal development

Biotin also supports pregnancy through healthy fetal development. Cellular function and growth rely on Biotin both in the womb and out.

Pregnancy also puts someone at a higher risk of Biotin deficiency, so it’s common to see Biotin added into prenatal vitamins to support a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

The side effects of Biotin

Excess intake or overdose of Biotin in the body is very rare. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, so any excess amounts will be excreted in the urine.

Signs and symptoms of Biotin overdose may include insomnia, excessive thirst and urination.

Since Biotin can play a role in postprandial glucose control, excess levels would cause signs and symptoms of a person experiencing hyperglycemia. Diabetic patients should be cautious before taking Biotin. Although not impossible, it would be very difficult to overdose on Biotin.

Anaphylaxis is always a common concern with any medication but would present with systemic signs and symptoms.

In rare cases, Eosinophilic Pleuropericardial effusion, a life-threatening condition, may occur.

Poison control centers should always be contacted with a suspected overdose of any medication.

Is Biotin safe to take while breastfeeding?

Biotin is safe to take while breastfeeding. Biotin is naturally found in our bodies and is essential to how our bodies work and our health.

Biotin deficiency is very rare and additional supplements are usually not necessary as Biotin is naturally found in the foods we eat every day. But be sure to include a wide variety of foods every day as lactation increases the dietary requirement for Biotin and suggests that intakes exceeding current dietary recommendations are needed to meet metabolic demands.

Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers do need more Biotin than usual and are at risk of Biotin deficiency. If you’re taking a vitamin or prenatal vitamin, it will already contain Biotin as one of the nutrients. Vitamins together with a healthy and balanced diet will be able to meet all of your nutritional needs.

Biotin does transfer into breastmilk, but no adverse effects have been found, nor has a toxic upper intake been established.

Recommended daily intake of Biotin

The recommended dietary allowance dose of Biotin for pregnant women is 30 µg/day and 35 µg/day for breastfeeding mothers.

An infant less than 6 months old needs 0.9 µg/kg/day, while an infant over 6 months of age should get 6 µg/day.

Levels of Biotin in human milk range from 5 to 9 µg/L, indicating that there is active transport of Biotin into milk.

Signs of Biotin deficiencies

Biotin deficiency is rare and severe Biotin deficiency in healthy individuals eating a normal healthy and balanced diet has never been reported.

The signs and symptoms of Biotin deficiency typically appear gradually.

Signs of a Biotin deficiency

– Thinning hair

– Scaly, red rash around body openings (eyes, nose, mouth and perineum)

– Conjunctivitis

– Ketolactic acidosis

– Ciduria

– Seizures

– Skin infection

– Brittle nails

– Neurological findings (e.g., depression, lethargy, hallucinations, and paresthesia’s of the extremities) in adults

– Hypotonia, lethargy, and developmental delays in infants

Causes of Biotin deficiency

Biotinidase deficiency

Biotinidase deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive disorder that prevents the body from releasing free Biotin, leading to Biotin deficiency despite normal intake.

Individuals with chronic alcohol exposure

Chronic exposure to alcohol inhibits the absorption of Biotin.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women

At least a third of pregnant women develop a Biotin deficiency in spite of normal Biotin intakes.

Plasma and breastmilk concentrations of Biotin decrease in breastfeeding women, even when their dietary Biotin intakes exceed the AI.

Malnutrition

Inadequate food and nutrient intake can lead to low nutrient levels, including Biotin.

Anticonvulsants

In one study of 264 people with epilepsy, the use of anticonvulsant or antiseizure medication for at least 1 year was associated with significantly lower serum Biotin levels.

Excessive consumption of raw eggs

Avidin, a protein found in egg whites, binds strongly to Biotin, impairing the absorption of the vitamin, leading to severe Biotin deficiency in those who consume excessive amounts of raw eggs

Food sources rich in Biotin

– Organ meats

– Salmon

– Tuna

– Eggs

– Fish

– Meat

– Seeds

– Nuts

– Sweet potatoes

– Spinach

– Brocolli

– Cheddar cheese

– Milk

– Bananas

Important notes on taking Biotin while breastfeeding

It’s clear that Biotin is an essential nutrient that our bodies need to properly function. It plays a very important role in how our bodies function. We need even more Biotin during both pregnancy and lactation.

The good news is that the general population and most healthy people have no need to worry about their Biotin intake or low Biotin levels. With a healthy and balanced diet, most people get enough Biotin in.

Prenatal vitamins and a healthy and balanced diet should be all that’s needed to ensure that a breastfeeding mother gets all of the necessary nutrients.

If any Biotin deficiencies are expected, it’s best to consult with your professional medical advice and possible higher doses of Biotin supplements if necessary and further treatment from your healthcare provider.

If you ever need any information related to breastfeeding, contact an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

Additional information and resources

Biotin

Pregnancy and Lactation Alter Biomarkers of Biotin Metabolism in Women Consuming a Controlled Diet

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