The endless quest for more radiant skin and hair has driven biotin supplement sales to soaring numbers. In fact, biotin is often one of the top selling supplements on Amazon and is selling at doses 500-times higher than what is found in a typical multivitamin.
While there have been no reported side effects from taking biotin, what many people may not know is that taking biotin supplements can affect the results of some important blood tests, potentially leading to misdiagnoses for very serious conditions, including heart attack, thyroid disease, breast cancer, pregnancy and fertility.
“Certain brands of blood tests may use biotin and another protein called streptavidin to generate test results. If you take a biotin supplement, it can produce ‘false-positive’ or ‘false-negative’ lab test results,” said Ramani Wonderling, PhD, associate director for scientific relations in diagnostics, Abbott (Lake Forest, IL). “In some cases, this may lead to misdiagnoses or unnecessary treatments for heart disease, thyroid conditions, breast cancer, pregnancy and fertility.”
The good news is that consumers don’t need to stop taking biotin in order to avoid erroneous test results and misdiagnosis. If people are taking biotin, they just need to tell their doctors and who can then make sure the lab uses tests that aren’t affected by biotin.
“If doctors know their patients are taking biotin, the doctors can alert the lab and request tests that won’t be affected,” Wonderling said. “Abbott has designed their diagnostic tests to not rely on biotin and streptavidin to generate a result. Therefore those test results are not affected by biotin.”
To help people understand more about biotin, its potential benefits, how it can affect blood test results and what people should tell their doctors, Abbott has launched an awareness campaign that includes educational articles, infographics and videos. “As biotin sales continue to soar, it is vital that people know how to safely and effectively include it as part of their vitamin and supplement regimen,” Wonderling said.
For more information, visit http://www.abbott.com/newsroom/news/whats-the-big-deal-about-biotin.html.