Can biotin reverse multiple sclerosis? Also known as vitamin B7, this popular water soluble nutrient is often found in hair growth supplements. But, what else might it do? Can it cure MS? That was the question I was recently asked. So, does it really work? I did some digging and presented the evidence in the video below. Having worked with people who have MS, my hope is this helps those looking for answers.
Biotin For Multiple Sclerosis: Evidence
A few studies exist showing a possible link between vitamin B7 and MS. This quick video provides the pro/con of what the science says:
Watch on my YouTube channel if you prefer.
Keep in mind some studies note this vitamin may not help MS symptoms. For example, one investigation – involving 43 MS patients who took 300 mg for 1 year – showed the nutrient had no effect on MS symptoms. These researchers also noted over 30% of the people had a worsening of symptoms during the study.
The researchers speculated some of the decline might also be due to the inability of peoples damaged cells to respond to the metabolic demand of extra biotin. This is conjecture of course.
In a preliminary investigation, researchers noted biotin might worsen MS symptoms in some people. Cellular inflammation was also increased after taking the vitamin. This study was presented at a meeting of scientists and is not yet published in a peer-reviewed journal. The results should be replicated by others.
How Does Biotin Help MS?
If vitamin B7 really works, it's speculated it functions by activating energy producing pathways (like the Krebs cycle) in brain cells. It's also postulated that biotin may play a role in reforming myelin, the fatty protective covering of nerves which is destroyed in MS.
These are theories of course.
Biotin Side Effects
Are their any downsides to biotin? For the most part, the vitamin is pretty safe. Here a are a few things to remember if you experiment with this nutrient:
- Biotin may alter the results of a variety blood tests – such as for hypothyroidism, testosterone and growth hormone among others. Taking too much vitamin B7 may make it seem like you are low in some hormones while higher in others- when you really aren't. Basically, it causes false lab test results.
- In some cases, altering lab test results may be serious. The FDA has stated it's aware of at least 1 death due to biotin interfering with lab test results. Be sure to tell your doctor you take this vitamin before you have blood tests.
- Some anti-seizure medications like carbamazepine and phenobarbital may reduce biotin levels. Whether or not this requires supplementation with this vitamin should be discussed with a physician.
Does Biotin Help MS?
I can't say either way at this time. The evidence is interesting but I think it's too soon to tell. Based on the research, if the vitamin helps reduce MS symptoms, I think the effect would be minor for most people. That said, given the relative safety of biotin, I can understand how someone with MS would want to give it a try. Because the vitamin can interfere with lab test results, make sure you tell your doctor you are taking this nutrient.
What Do You Think?
- Is there a link between vitamin B and multiple sclerosis?
- High dose biotin in chronic progressive multiple sclerosis: a pilot study
- MD1003 (high dose biotin) for the treatment of progressive multiple sclerosis: a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study
- High dose biotin as a treatment for progressive multiple sclerosis.
- Breakthrough disease under high-dose biotin treatment in progressive multiple sclerosis