When a doctor tested the thyroid in his patient, he saw that the test results were not logical. Since the physician was uncertain of what to make of the test, he confided in an endocrinologist. The physician used levothyroxine to treat hypothyroidism. Out of the blue, the patient’s T4 levels surged even though the thyroid stimulating hormone level was at its norm. The physician was uncertain of what to do, therefore, he recommended the patient to visit a specialist in the field.
The patient’s T4 and T3 level had risen, but his T4, T4 index and TSH were normal. The doctor questioned the patient about taking biotin. The patient responded that he had taken biotin to strengthen his hair. The doctor discerned that the problem was not with his thyroid. The problem was that biotin was interfering with the tests.
The Effects Of Biotin
Numerous patients are consuming excessive amounts of biotin as they want to improve their hair and nails. The problem with extremely high intake of biotin is that it provides inaccurate laboratory tests, especially with thyroid tests. Since most people who take biotin consider it a supplement, they do not regard it as medication, therefore, they do not list it on the medications form.
As biotin causes distorted laboratory test results, this impacts the treatment. Several doctors have misdiagnosed patients since the test results have indicated thyroid problems which has resulted in wrong treatment. One of the biggest concerns doctors have with the distorted results is that it can leave an actual condition undiscovered and untreated.
For patients who are taking biotin, it is unnecessary to stop it entirely. You will have to decrease the intake of biotin and report your usage to the doctor before your thyroid is tested. The pundits have advised that to ensure accurate thyroid testing, you should postpone the intake of biotin at least three days prior to the tests.
The Doctor’s Prerogative
Many doctors have been confused by the false thyroid test results that biotin has caused. But experts say that this is not a new problem and many health professionals are aware of it. “For the last couple of years, I have been trying to raise the profile of this issue and get it to the attention of people who might be able to fix it. I’m glad to see this FDA warning,” said Earle Holmes, Ph.D., a professor of molecular pharmacology and therapeutics at Loyola University School of Medicine in Maywood, IL.
The FDA has issued out a statement to ensure that the medical community is aware of the problem. The report stated, “The FDA is working with stakeholders to better understand biotin interference with laboratory tests, and to develop additional future recommendations for safety testing in patients who have taken high levels of biotin when using laboratory tests that use biotin technology.”
Most doctors do not recommend patients to take a high intake of biotin supplements as the healthy alternative is to consume foods such as eggs, sweet potatoes, and spinach.