Supplements claiming to improve appearance have proliferated over the past decade. From 2011 to 2020, the percentage of Americans who reported taking a hair, skin and nail vitamin in the past month rose from 2.5% to 4.9%.
But experts warn about side effects and dangers. Skin, hair and nail supplements often contain much more biotin than the human body needs, for example, a research paper published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology has found.
High doses of biotin can” change test results that healthcare providers may order, such as a thyroid test, a cardiac test [and] even a possible vitamin D test,” Dr Rebecca Hartmanassistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and one of the authors of the paper, tells CNBC Make It.
The recommended daily dose of biotin for adults is 0.03 milligrams. In some cases, supplements were 650 times that amount, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.
Until then, high biotin levels could lead to false diagnoses of hyperthyroidism and interfere with doctors’ ability to detect heart attacks in patients, Hartman said. TODAY in June.
Dr. Adam Friedman, chair of dermatology at George Washington University, says these side effects can sometimes be fatal. “Someone died because of a missed heart attack [during testing],” explains Friedman, adding that the patient’s troponin levels were nothing to worry about. “They weren’t elevated in this one person who was taking a biotin supplement for hair growth.”
Biotin, or vitamin B7, is commonly found in most foods and multivitamins, so people rarely need supplements, however, Friedman says. “If you were biotin deficient, you wouldn’t be going to Walgreens to buy a bottle of biotin,” he says. “You’d probably be in the hospital.”
Claims suggesting that biotin is good for hair, skin and nail health are largely anecdotal, says Hartman, adding, “Most Americans are already getting the small amount needed through their daily diet.”
While initial data shows that collagen may make your skin healthier, Hartman says more research is needed to confirm that claim.
Regardless, a well-balanced diet is the most natural and safest way to get “beauty” nutrients like biotin and collagen, the researchers agree.
Foods rich in biotin include:
These foods help promote collagen production:
- bone broth
- Fruits, leafy greens, and root vegetables for vitamin C, zinc, and copper, which help collagen production
Before taking any supplement, it is important to ask yourself these questions:
- Does it really have the active ingredients it claims to have?
- What evidence supports using this particular amount of this particular product?
- Is this a reliable company to buy this specific product from?
- Has it been third party tested, and are there any contaminants?
- Have I checked in with my doctor before taking it?
Collagen supplements, often used as a skin health aid, can often be taken without undue concern – but when tested, many people are tested. popular brands contained toxic heavy metals like lead and mercury, Hartman and other dermatologists note.
“Collagen probably won’t hurt,” Friedman says, “but we don’t have a lot of guidance in terms of making recommendations about the right dosage.”
For him, the bottom line is this: “I tell my patients, don’t accept [biotin]. To me, there’s really no added benefit, just potential harm.”
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