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Patients who are ingesting high levels of biotin in dietary supplements may be in danger of getting clinically significant incorrect lab results.
Biotin is used in hormone tests and tests for markers of cardiac health like troponin, which are proteins found in the heart muscle and are released into the blood when there is damage to the heart. Biotin is also known as vitamin B7 and it’s a water-soluble vitamin often found in multi-vitamins, prenatal vitamins, and dietary supplements marketed for hair, skin, and nail growth.
The FDA says they have seen an increase in the number of reported adverse events, including one death related to biotin interference with lab tests.
The death related to biotin interference refers to one patient taking high levels of biotin died following falsely low troponin test results when a troponin test known to have biotin interference was used.
Depending on the test, the FDA says biotin in patient samples can cause falsely high or falsely low results. They warn incorrect test results may lead to inappropriate patient management or misdiagnosis. The FDA says many dietary supplements promoted for hair, skin, and nail benefits contain biotin levels up to 650 times the recommended daily intake of biotin. Biotin levels higher than the recommended daily allowance may cause interference with lab tests.
The FDA warns Physicians who are aware of the interference are likely unaware as to whether how much biotin patients are taking.