Researchers regularly report how their recent findings could benefit people who suffer from debilitating chronic conditions, such as Multiple Sclerosis. The focus today is on BIOTIN, a vitamin in the B-Vitamin class, yet sometimes referred to as Vitamin H or coenzyme R. It acts as a coenzyme (a nonprotein compound necessary for the functioning of an enzyme). Enzymes are biological molecules (proteins) that act help complex reactions occur everywhere in life.
Here are some claims about Biotin:
Promote healthy hair and strong nails with Maximum Strength Biotin from Natrol. Each tablet delivers 10,000 mcg of biotin. Known as the “beauty” nutrient, this important B vitamin also supports energy production. By supporting the matrix of hair and nails, biotin promotes shiny, lustrous hair and strong, resilient nails.
One such enzyme action associated with biotin is the formation of myelin sheath. One theory about MS focuses on erosions on the myelin sheath. In fact, evaluating the extent of the erosion (ie plaques) is often a part of the diagnosis process. Patients with MS symptoms and plaque are diagnosed with MS. People without symptoms and with plaque are not diagnosed with MS.
Confusing? Controversial? Yes, but that’s how medicine works until the evidence mounts for one theory, which strongly denounces a competing theory.
Some recent reports suggest improvement in MS symptoms when people use high doses of Biotin – around 300 mg (300,000 mcg) per day. That’s 30 to 60 times more than is commonly available (Biotin is available in 5,000 mcg or 10,000 mcg doses).
Accepted daily amounts are all under 50 mcg. Some users experience side effects, though not many when the daily amounts are in the 1,000 mcg range. They include acne, allergies, and miscarriage. It is difficult to locate reports of possible side effects when doses of 300,000 mcg are used over long periods of time. Biotin is soluble in water and is usually excreted quickly – again at normal amounts.
Using 30 times the daily recommended amounts may certainly cause more serious problems, but there’s no evidence.
I was quick to offer our compounding support when Dr. Bernard Bihari began ordering naltrexone HCl in 3.0 mg doses (LDN) because the daily doses were so small (1% to 2% of the daily amounts for the commercial product). I reasoned that if side effects were relatively rare at higher doses, tiny amounts would not likely cause problems even if used over long periods of time. Naltrexone is quickly excreted from the body and is not known to build up in tissue.
The same cannot be said when the dose range jumps to 30 times the standard amounts. Because biotin is part of numerous important actions in the body, taking massive amounts with the intention of improving myelin sheath production might also cause damage in other parts of the body that also use biotin – coenzymes never facilitate just a single function.
As a final note, pure biotin is expensive, especially when the amounts needed are small – as they would be for a compounder. Giant companies might buy hundreds of pounds at a time compared to the half pound I’d want to order. This makes the final product costly – well over $100 for a month’s supply.
Until more evidence is available about effectiveness and safety, I have decided that The Compounder will not be making 300 mg capsules of biotin.