Biotin and Birth Control: Is It Safe?

Medically reviewed by Nicole Galan, RN on February 2, 2016Written by Annette McDermott on February 2, 2016

Some drugs and supplements may impact the effectiveness of birth control pills and vice versa. Keep reading to learn whether biotin supplements have an adverse effect on birth control when used at the same time.

How Birth Control Pills Work

Birth control pills alter hormone levels to prevent the release of an egg from the ovary, or ovulation. The pills also affect your cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to travel toward the egg for potential fertilization.

Combination pills are the most common form of birth control pills. These pills contain synthetic forms of two hormones produced naturally in the ovaries, progestin and estrogen. Combination pills are taken three weeks on and one week off.

Each pack includes 21 pills containing hormones and should be taken once daily for 21 days. Your pill pack may or may not also have seven placebo pills. These placebos don’t contain hormones and are meant to keep you in the daily habit of taking the pills.

Some birth control pills only contain progestin. These progestin-only pills are called minipills. Minipills are taken once per day for 28 days. When taking minipills, there isn’t an off week or a week of placebo pills.

Birth control pills are up to 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy when they’re taken as directed. This means taking the pill every day at the same time without ever missing a pill, which is considered perfect use.

Most women take the pill with slight irregularity. This means that a dose may be missed or the pill may be taken at a different time. This is called typical use. If taken with typical use, birth control pills are 91 percent effective.

What Is Biotin?

Biotin is a water-soluble, B complex vitamin. This vitamin helps the body metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and other substances. It’s also thought to promote strong hair and nails. Biotin can be taken as a supplement or found in certain foods.

Food sources of biotin include:

  • brewer’s yeast
  • cooked eggs
  • sardines
  • nuts, such as peanuts, walnuts, pecans, and almonds
  • nut butters
  • soybeans
  • legumes
  • whole grains
  • bananas
  • mushrooms

The uses of biotin aren’t well studied. Although there isn’t sufficient evidence to confirm any medicinal properties, some people believe biotin:

  • treats hair loss by stimulating hair growth
  • treats diabetes by lowering blood sugar when taken in conjunction with other supplements
  • treats brittle nails by increasing the level of nail thickness

You should be aware of several drug interactions when taking biotin, but birth control pills are not one of them. Biotin hasn’t been shown to change birth control effectiveness or to prompt any additional side effects.

Side effects may be increased if you take biotin with medications that are changed by the liver. These can include:

Taking alpha-lipoic acid or vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid) with biotin can affect absorption.

What Are the Side Effects of Birth Control?

The side effects of birth control pills are typically mild. These may include:

  • mood swings
  • menstrual cycle changes
  • increased bleeding
  • nausea
  • migraines
  • tender breasts
  • weight gain

More serious side effects are often a sign of an underlying condition. These side effects can include:

  • blood clots
  • a heart attack
  • high blood pressure
  • a stroke

The risk of serious side effects is higher if you:

  • smoke
  • have a history of high blood pressure
  • have clotting disorders
  • have bad cholesterol

Taking control of your overall health by quitting smoking if you smoke, eating a healthy diet, and losing weight if you’re overweight may help reduce these risks.

Should You Take Biotin with Birth Control Pills?

You may have heard that you can’t take B vitamins with birth control pills. It’s true that taking birth control pills may lead to vitamin B-6, B-12, and vitamin B-9 (folic acid) deficiency. However, there’s no current scientific research that taking biotin, which is vitamin B-7, with birth control pills causes issues.

It’s generally recommended that men and women ages 19 to 50 get 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B-6 daily. Men and women ages 14 and older should get 400 micrograms of folate daily and 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 daily. The amounts may need to be higher if you have a deficiency or if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.

The recommended daily amount of biotin for men and women ages 19 and older is 30 micrograms daily.

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, biotin deficiency is rare. The symptoms may include:

  • a scaly rash on the eyes, nose, mouth, and genitals
  • hair loss
  • depression
  • lethargy
  • hallucinations
  • seizures
  • numbness and tingling of the extremities
  • ataxia, or a lack of coordination

Smoking, hereditary disorders, and pregnancy have been associated with biotin deficiency, but there isn’t any controlled research linking biotin deficiency to birth control pills.

Deciding Which Birth Control Is Right for You

Birth control pills are just one of many birth control options. Non-hormonal options can include certain intrauterine devices, diaphragms, and condoms.

Deciding which option is right for you is a personal choice, and your doctor is the best person to consult with questions and concerns. Healthfinder.gov recommends that you consider several factors:

  • Do you plan to have kids? If so, when?
  • Do you have any medical conditions?
  • How often do you have sex?
  • Do you have multiple sex partners?
  • What are the side effects of the birth control?
  • Does the birth control protect you against HIV or sexually transmitted diseases?
  • Can you afford the birth control or will it be covered by insurance?

The answers to these questions may help you narrow down your birth control choices.

Which Birth Control Is Right For You?

The Takeaway

There isn’t any evidence to suggest that taking biotin affects birth control pills. Birth control pills may deplete levels of some other B vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, though. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps, but it may not be enough to make up for any deficit. If you take birth control pills, talk to your doctor about taking a multivitamin or B-complex vitamin.

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