Could This Seemingly Harmless Vitamin Be Jeopardizing Your Patients’ Health?

Could This Seemingly Harmless Vitamin Be Jeopardizing Your Patients’ Health?

Megadoses of biotin are thought to be potentially throwing off a number of thyroid tests results. Some may wonder what the big deal is about test results being off, but understanding the critical role the thyroid plays will erase any doubt about whether this phenomenon can be dangerous.   The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland found inside the neck. This gland is responsible for producing metabolism hormones that affect virtually every function in the body. Hormones secreted by the thyroid communicate with all other hormones, including insulin, cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. So, poor thyroid function can be linked to many widespread symptoms and diseases. That’s why the accuracy of thyroid testing is so important to staying healthy!   Several case presentations were discussed at the 2015 International Thyroid Congress of patients with abnormal thyroid test results who were taking large doses of biotin. The impact of biotin on lab tests seems to be the common contributing factor to the abnormal results. Physicians and researchers theorize that megadoses of biotin could be causing misdiagnoses—and even unnecessary treatment.   The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily Biotin intake of 30 mcg. That’s the level a multivitamin typically contains. However, some patients are taking much higher amounts, and might consider it only a supplement versus a medication, so they don’t think to let their doctors know. As research continues to make healthcare professionals aware of the biotin connection, it prompts them to proactively ask patients whether or not they take the supplement when lab results come back with unexpected inconsistencies.   Although reports mostly focus on problems with parathyroid and thyroid hormone tests, biotin should be considered a potential factor in almost any suspicious immunoassay result. Since it is water soluble though, it leaves the body quickly; often a single day of not taking the supplement will make a big difference in results. So, upon receiving a test result that just doesn’t seem right, it’s best to discontinue use and retest to avoid unnecessary medical treatment.

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