Question: A strange biotin effect

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Not dead yet!, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. Not dead yet!

    Not dead yet! Well-Known Member

    Well first, I didn't know that biotin can cause headaches, so, knowing how vital it is to the various cycles of producing energy, I tried to boost it with a megadose of 5mg. Then took a megadose of pantothenic acid. Both of these together produced quite a spectacular headache. But it was tolerable, much less bad than the worst migraines I've had, or even medium ones.

    The reason I'm writing is that I had an effect I recognized. It was a gut dysbiosis effect. My muscles went rigid, my low back was aching, my hips were nearly immobile, I had constipation, and whenever my pelvic area moved, my headache throbbed. It was all over in 24 hours, but I'm still sweating today.

    I know biotin is made by gut bacteria, so I figure they need it, so maybe I fed them too much? I can't find too much on the connection or exactly which probiotics make it. It contains sulfur so I imagine it's the sulfur-consuming ones. Does it "feed" the probiotics to take too much biotin? And which ones? Fungal? Bacterial? Lactobacilli? etc.

    Any help would be appreciated. :)
  2. Not dead yet!

    Not dead yet! Well-Known Member

    Update: While I still have some energy I looked at biotin on MicrobeWiki, one of the hits was MLV's and after that it got all technical and it lost me. I'm OK with general biology, but lab techniques are not a skill of mine.

    However, I did find... "Biotin is used in two-step detection systems in concert with conjugated avidin. Biotin is typically conjugated to proteins via primary amines (i.e., lysines). Usually, between 3 and 6 biotin molecules are conjugated to each antibody."

    and when I put it together with these images: (switch to image view)

    Did I just "biotinylate" my Igg's? :wideyed: I did also take lysine, which I take every day but until now I didn't think it had anything to do with biotin. Did that make the antibodies work better or worse?

    More mystery: Title: "Biotin Supplementation Increases Expression of Genes Encoding Interferon-γ, Interleukin-1β, and 3-Methylcrotonyl-CoA Carboxylase, and Decreases Expression of the Gene Encoding Interleukin-4 in Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells"

    And more:
    "Biotin Homeostasis" I remember PBMC from the "Plague" book though I don't have a full understanding of it.

    Lordy what did I just do?
  3. Remy

    Remy Administrator

    Here's a summary of the biotin absorption process:

    Biotinylation would happen to *all* proteins in the body, not just immunoglobulins.

    So my guess is that you had a reaction to the biotin, maybe to the fillers or something. Or maybe to the biotin itself. Biotin allergy is very rare, but possible.

    Biotin-binding immunoglobulins are also associated with allergic and autoimmune disease like Graves'. I don't know much about this though.

    Doses of 300 MG of biotin a day are currently being tested for efficacy in MS with positive preliminary results so 5 MG doesn't seem like too worrisome a dose to me. If you are inclined to try again, you might try a lower dose or even a different brand to see if that changes anything about your reaction, but I doubt you've done yourself any serious harm. :)
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  4. Not dead yet!

    Not dead yet! Well-Known Member

    Thank you, @Remy that's very helpful. While I was nosing around some more, I also found this:

    and also

    I hadn't seen those when I first wrote this. I have to admit that under the tongue works for boosting my energy level without producing a headache (at least, it does if I put small amounts there, I haven't tried a whole 5mg capsule's worth at once).

    I've since looked at the Interferon gamma and il-4 etc... and it seems to me that biotin does have a specific effect on the "cytokine storm" possibly.

    In any case, the coughing fit I had today tells me I'm on the right track. For over a year I've had this feeling that my lungs were stiff or something. Like I was breathing using a leather bag. It "felt" smooth, too smooth, and restricted. I'd have coughing fits, but nothing productive. Finally this morning I coughed some stuff up. And now I have a feeling like I ripped something from the bottom of my lungs. And I can breathe easier.

    The history of my lungs is that I had multiple PE's like many women who tried the "new" birth control drugs in the early 2000s. I was one of the first ones and they didn't continue warfarin longer than 6 months although I kept saying "I'm not healed yet" and the pictures showed it. So ever since I've been on natto and high doses of Vitamin E plus an assortment of other things listed in "do not take before a surgery." And you know what? I did have surgery and I was fine (lost my gallbladder to an infection). But my breathing is now so bad I have a COPD inhaler collection. (Hmm, maybe I should push for oxygen.... random thought.)

    So any improvement in the tightness in my chest is a huge success.

    My first step is to take the pantothenic acid today without the biotin to see if that was the cause of the headache. Let's hope not, because if so, I'll be doing ever more research. Well, it gives me something to think about. :)

    If it "saturates at the micromolar range" and is sodium dependent, then that sounds like the Vitamin C limit, doesn't it? Or is that something else? I have this feeling I'll be learning a lot about transport of vitamins.

    Finally is that really 300 MG??!! I thought it was mcg, the MS thing. I'll have to be more careful about that.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
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  5. Remy

    Remy Administrator

    It really is!

    You inspired me to start back on the biotin myself...I took 100 MG today!
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  6. Not dead yet!

    Not dead yet! Well-Known Member

    So that's something like this then?

    Looks like a month's supply is about $30, unless I messed up the math. I'm still not risking the full 5mg yet, but it looks like part of the problem is the lack of water. Somehow I got dehydrated that day.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
  7. Remy

    Remy Administrator

    That one is not cut with anything, so the quantity would be impossible to measure using spoons. You'd have to use a scale, which is fine, but probably more work than most of us want.

    Here's the 1% form...

    I am just using these caps though that are 100 mg each.
  8. Not dead yet!

    Not dead yet! Well-Known Member

    Oh nice capsules. I checked around and the usual suspects in the USA don't have the high doses in capsules. I don't mind taking it with a jeweler's scale, I guess. I'll work something out. My health food store used to carry capsule makers, but that seems to be out of fashion now. Anyway I need to build up to it.

    In all this talk of amounts, I've been also looking more into the gut dysbiosis feeling. It seems pretty simple or maybe too simplistic, but I am guessing that it isn't so much the inulin that is a probiotic, as much as having some excess biotin there. It seems to be in a lot of types of growing media (ref, MicrobeWiki). It might explain why it dries you out too... more bacteria use more water. Maybe I've cracked the code to keeping my biota alive? I hope so.
  9. Remy

    Remy Administrator

    Bulk supplements offers a more diluted bulk powder that can be measured with spoons that I linked above. If you want bulk powder, I highly recommend that option. :)
  10. Not dead yet!

    Not dead yet! Well-Known Member

    I'm still reading more about Biotin. Wanted to add a reference in case others are too:

    One of many things that are unclear is the "odd chain fatty acid accumulation" aspect, which led me to BCAA's when I googled it:

    Is it just me, or is this passage basically saying that if you are in negative protein balance (your body is fighting an infection or you've over-exercised to the point of harm), then BCAA's will be turned into fatty acids, NOT glucose as you'd expect with gluconeogenesis?

    "Consistent with roles of biotin-dependent acetyl-CoA carboxylases 1 and 2, and propionyl-CoA carboxylase in lipid metabolism, biotin deficiency causes alterations of the fatty acid profile in liver, skin, and serum of several animal species [92]. Biotin deficiency is associated with increased abundance of odd-chain fatty acids, suggesting that odd-chain fatty acid accumulation may be a marker for reduced propionyl-CoA carboxylase activity in biotin deficiency. Biotin deficiency does not affect the fatty acid composition in brain tissue to the same extent as in liver [92].

    It also could be hinting at a mechanism for NASH (Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis),and might explain why I feel a tenderness in the liver area, but nothing unusual seems to be wrong.

    But it's the BCAA connection I find fascinating right now. Check any weight lifting site, and you will see how important they say those are to muscle gain and retention.
  11. Not dead yet!

    Not dead yet! Well-Known Member

    Just an update, with the modafinil headache, I have stopped my dose increases of biotin, I just can't take the risk at the moment. Next week I'll start with 10 grams and hope it works out. I hope I don't always feel like I have to go up slowly. Just being cautious.
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  12. Not dead yet!

    Not dead yet! Well-Known Member

    So I wanted to update on this. I seem to be unable to take more than 1 gram of biotin per day without severe increase in all pain and triggering a headache. I get a rebound increase in energy after the headache is cleared leading me to think that it's something about clearing the biotin that is increasing my metabolism. Not sure.

    I can take up to 10 grams if I hold it under my tongue and it has a definite brain clearing effect. It's a big hassle though.

    This option needs more development to be useful to everyone. I suspect that my bowel issues are standing in the way of this supplement helping me. :(
  13. Remy

    Remy Administrator

    That's a whopping dose! I think the MS trials are only using 300 mg/day. I've been taking 100mg/day and my hair is longer but that's about it. :)
  14. Issie

    Issie Well-Known Member

    Be sure to go off biotin before having a thyroid test. They use biotin to do the test and you will get false results.

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
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  15. Remy

    Remy Administrator

    The lab I use says 2-3 days is sufficient because biotin is water soluble.
  16. Not dead yet!

    Not dead yet! Well-Known Member

    I actually tried to find the MS studies, or even the preliminary ones that led to the current study, and no luck. I've heard conflicting rumors about how much to take daily. That's probably the problem.

    It is also used in growing bacteria so I think that's why I can't tolerate it. It feeds my toxic flora too much.

    I think I also misspoke. I can take 1000 mcg (1mg) but not more without resorting to putting it under my tongue. Looks like I skipped the mg part of the conversion.

    The ordinary ones you buy in a store have 1000 mcg or 5000 mcg, but I've seen lower as well. Re-reading your previous post, I notice that I made the assumption you were using 100 grams instead of mg after my memory of the post faded.

    I chalk it up to the dangers of trying to use supplements to self treat while under the influence of brain fog. LOL Sorry for the confusion. I looked at my biotin supplements carefully today and it's 1000 mcg that I can take. 5000 mcg is too much for me.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  17. Remy

    Remy Administrator

    Here's an article with a link to the clinical trials for MS using biotin. It's 100mg three times a day.
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  18. Forebearance

    Forebearance Well-Known Member

    Hi Not dead yet,
    I'm so glad you are figuring out a dose of biotin that works for you. I think we are all different, so I'm not surprised that some of us can't tolerate so much biotin.

    My experiments with biotin resulted in these experiences:
    5 mg is okay, it felt good, at least so far.
    10 mg was too much -- it made me headachey.
    15 mg was way too much -- it stressed out my liver.
    So that's one person's experience.

    I read some people with MS talking about high dose biotin, and some of them were talking about getting headaches and heartburn from it. Why would they keep on taking a supplement when their bodies were giving them clear signals that it was an overdose? That makes me really sad! How do they expect to get well if they don't listen to theri bodies???

    I was wanting to take Vitamin B5, and was having trouble tolerating a pretty standard dose of it. Adding biotin makes me able to stand Vit B5, so that is a good thing. I read that the two are related and have to be in balance. And that is what it feels like to me.

    If the 5mg dose starts to feel bad, I'll go down to a smaller dose. All those doses are still pretty large, compared to the standard dose. I'll keep it in the range where it feels good with no side effects.
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  19. Not dead yet!

    Not dead yet! Well-Known Member

    I read some of the articles on use in MS and none of the side effects were noted in the actual science publications!! I kept thinking... hey, this doesn't pass the sniff test. Even normal people taking biotin for hair growth get headaches from it, so where are the statistics on headaches caused?

    I think you're on to something on the balancing of B vitamins in the body. There are so many B vitamins that it would take an age to figure out what the proper ratios are on self experimentation alone. But I think it makes sense that once you are feeling fatigued, supplying just one B vitamin is likely to be unbalancing and lead to side effects.

    That effect, the dysbiosis effect, it happened before I knew I was Celiac. Celiac is one of the many causes of leaky gut, so that biotin probably diffused into my peritoneum and fed the benign germs too much, causing my immune system to react. That's my explanation until I find a better one.

    Come to think of it, I'm not sure I was checking it for 'gluten free' labeling. It could also be that it was contaminated with gluten and directly triggered my illness.
    Forebearance likes this.
  20. Forebearance

    Forebearance Well-Known Member

    Good idea about checking for gluten, Not dead yet. I need to research to find out if any of these B vitamins are made from yeast. They might be bothering my mold sensitivity.

    Well, 5mg is WAY too much for me for a daily maintenance dose. I think I may end up needing something more in the neighborhood of 100-300 mcg. I guess I am not one of those people who need a massive amount of biotin.

    Last night was AWFUL. I took a 5mg biotin along with Vit B5 and ached so badly that I couldn't sleep. As well as being headachy and heartburny.

    My next experiment will be to try to figure out how much biotin I need, and then combine it with both Vit B5 and Vit B6. Maybe all three of them need to balance.

    All I can say is, I am extremely grateful that I didn't try a 100 mg capsule of biotin. Whew. Dodged a bullet.
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