Biotin Deficiency Can Be Fatal! 6 Popular Medications That Deplete It

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In today’s discussion, we delve into a topic of critical importance yet often overlooked in the realm of health and wellness: Biotin deficiency. While many recognize this nutrient (also called Vitamin H or B7) for its benefits to hair and nail health, its role is profoundly deeper and, in some cases, life-saving. 

The urgency of addressing this issue was brought to my attention by a heartfelt message from a reader in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, who tragically lost her husband to complications associated with biotin deficiency—an affliction that remained undetected by many.

One problem is that physicians and consumers think of the vitamin only as a “beauty” vitamin to improve nail strength and hair growth. It’s also known as vitamin H, or B7. The sad part is, hundreds of medications are “drug muggers” of biotin, meaning they prevent absorption or diminish our ability to make it in the body.

Deficiency Symptoms 

Nerve pain- Numbness, tingling, prickly sensations, pain or any other “paresthesia.” It can occur by itself, or as part of kidney disease, insulin resistance, or diabetes. Please take a moment to read Small Fiber Neuropathy, Causes and Treatment.

Skin conditions- Eczema, psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, flaking, itching, flaking, scaly, dry or inflamed skin, sores in or around the mouth, burning mouth/tongue, all of these problems suggest biotin (or another B vitamin) deficiency.

Poor immunity- Results in more frequent bacterial or viral infections, anywhere, even in your eye (conjunctivitis).

Cognitive problems- The brain needs it to make neurotransmitters that keep you feeling mentally alert, happy and attentive. A deficiency can contribute to fatigue and depression.

High cholesterol- Animal studies have shown that biotin (along with chromium) can support healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A deficiency increases risk for fatty liver.

Biotin rich foods

Anorexia- You’re not hungry if you have biotin deficiency. Sounds like a dream right, but it can actually contribute to depression, lethargy, and weakness.

Anemia- The hemoglobin cells lose their ability to tote oxygen, leaving you feeling winded, short of breath, inattentive and fatigued with little exertion. Prolonged anemia raises risk for heart failure.

Cardiac Arrhythmia- A deficiency can absolutely cause you to suffer palpitations, skipped beats and other electrical disturbances that can cause a fatal heart attack. You may be interested in my article, Cardiac Arrhythmias May Be Caused By Nutritional Deficiencies.

You must get as irritated as I do to read Internet posts from so-called experts saying that biotin deficiency is “rare” or that we get enough from foods. I believe this type of deficiency is extremely common and covered this nutrient in Chapter 6 of Drug Muggers.

Book Drug Muggers

Medications That Reduce Biotin (B7)

Biotin is made by yeast and bacteria, the same friendly microorganisms in our intestinal flora. Keep in mind, all medications strip away our probiotics, reducing your stash.

Antibiotics are huge drug muggers as are estrogen-containing hormones, acid blockers, antacids, anticonvulsants, steroids, anti-virals, breast cancer drugs, anti-inflammatories and certain analgesics; also people who smoke, drink alcohol, coffee or take alpha lipoic acid run out of B7 quickly. What’s interesting is that 6 oz of coffee contains a tiny amount of biotin, 4 micrograms, but I’d say it is not a way to supplement. For the most part, coffee will strip your ability to absorb biotin by speeding transit time in the gut.

Certain medications can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb biotin or increase the body’s requirements, potentially leading to deficiency. If you want to read the NIH’s site information about this nutrient, CLICK HERE.

Here’s a list of some common types of medications that you may be taking: 

Antibiotic Depletion

1. Antibiotics: Long-term use of antibiotics can disrupt the gut flora, which may impact the production in the intestine, as some gut bacteria synthesize this nutrient.

2. Anticonvulsants/Seizure Medications: Drugs such as phenobarbital, carbamazepine, and primidone have been shown to decrease serum biotin levels in some people, possibly due to their effects on biotinidase, an enzyme that releases biotin from dietary proteins.

3. Antiretroviral Medications: Some medications used to treat HIV may affect levels, though the exact mechanism and the extent of impact can vary.

4. Isotretinoin (Accutane): Used for severe acne, isotretinoin can potentially affect biotinidase activity, though the clinical significance is still being understood. Do not use this if you are pregnant or planning to become. 


Acid Blocker Depletion is Epidemic

5. Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs): Medications like omeprazole, used to reduce stomach acid, may indirectly affect the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals, including biotin.

6. Beta-blockers: Used for managing heart conditions, beta-blockers might influence you levels, though more research is needed to fully understand their impact.

Mito 8
Mito B Complex contains Biotin



If you’re concerned about a deficiency due to medication use, discuss the issue with your doctor. They may recommend dietary adjustments,  supplementation, or regular monitoring of levels as part of your healthcare plan.

Supplements are sold over-the-counter and also, you will get this B vitamin if you take a B complex vitamin which always includes it in the family of B vitamins. About 1,000 to 5,000 mcg per day is what most health experts recommend.

Your body washes away excess biotin so it’s difficult to get too much, but certainly it is possible. It’s important to note that while these medications can potentially affect your levels, the risk of developing a clinically significant deficiency is generally low for most people. However, individuals on long-term medication therapy, particularly with the above-mentioned drugs, may benefit from monitoring and, if necessary, adjusting intake.