Most of the people who take supplements, take biotin for regrowing hair after hair loss or simply to get fuller and longer hair.
Generally, people have their own ways to take their supplements and depending on who you’re talking to, you’ll find many different answers as to when to take biotin. Some take it in the morning; others, take it with or right after lunch, and others like me take it just before going to sleep.
But this does not mean that anyone can take this vitamin randomly whenever.
Why Take Biotin
Vitamin B7 (previously also called vitamin H) is a nutritious supplement that your hair, skin and nails need to restore some of their vitality.
Be it due to:
- long-term neglect (for most people this is NOT the issue)
- eating the types of food that are lacking in it
- not being able to absorb nutrients effectively
- or simply being on medication that robs you of B vitamins (such as antibiotics that destroy the bacteria that produces them in the gut),
your body suffers. And your hair, your nails, and your skin are the first to be affected and noticeable by everyone around you.
Usually, people who supplement with biotin take anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 mcg per day for fixing their hair and nails issues. The brand I use is Dr. Best, which has both amounts. Dr. Best is truly one of the best and cleanest brands of supplements on the market today, and I have found this with every vitamin or mineral they are making.
There is ample research showing that biotin supplementation can improve the hair thickness and its shine, and help with brittle nails.
But it is not only important to know what type or brand of biotin to take, how much to take per day and what are its benefits, but you also need to know the best time of day to take biotin to achieve optimal results for healthier skin and regrowth of hair and nails.
Should you Take Biotin in the Day or at Night?
Biotin is a water-soluble supplement. This means that it will not stay too long in the body (unlike the vitamins A, E and D3, which are fat-soluble vitamins). So any excess is excreted from the body relatively fast.
It is part of the B vitamins, and generally, the B vitamins are best taken in the morning shortly before, with or after your first meal of the day. This is generally due to the fact that most B vitamins give the body energy, which you need throughout the day.
Having said that, there is also another theory that some nutritionists agree with. When we sleep at night, the body goes into a repair and restoration process. Basically, we eliminate toxins accumulated during the day, and all our organs restore at least a bit. Even our dead skin cells that we shed during the long days are replenished at night.
During the night our body rests. It would make more sense to have vitamins and minerals available to replenish during a time of repairs, rather than when the body is busy with burning calories, being stressed out and always on the run, while also working through digesting a heavy meal.
Of course, there are some B vitamins that should not be taken at night (like vitamin B12, which helps with more energy during the day), or should not be taken with other supplements together (like biotin and Alpha Lipoic Acid or vitamin B5, as they each reduce the body’s absorption of the other).
But from the many accounts of people who take biotin at night, there seems to be a consensus among them that taking it at night helps them more. If you take biotin at night, your system will have enough time to digest it so it can start doing its work in your body. Personally, I take my biotin and vitamin B6 about half an hour before I got to sleep.
If anything, there is one general consensus.
Should your biotin be part of a multivitamin that also includes other B vitamins (such as B12, B2 and B3), do take it in the morning, as those other B vitamins could have a negative effect on your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.
Is it Bad to Take Biotin on an Empty Stomach?
Generally, taking biotin on an empty stomach is not frown upon. You can usually take it hours after you’ve eaten your meal.
Having said that, every person is different, and we all react in different ways to anything we ingest, including supplements.
Personally, I have taken biotin before breakfast, after breakfast, late in the afternoon, and especially before going to bed at night with no side-effects (which is pretty much what I have been doing for the last couple of years).
But if you check the web for stories around biotin and meals, you will find plenty that caution you from taking it without a meal.
There are reports of some people feeling slightly nauseous shortly after taking biotin a couple of hours away from meals. Some have an upset stomach, and others feel like they are coming down with the flu. Some even feel bad if they took biotin shortly before a meal.
Yet, the same people have noticed that if they take their vitamin when there is already a bit of food in them (even just a half sandwich), these weird feelings do not happen at all.
The doses that people tend to react to when taking biotin away from food start at around 1000 mcg. At lower doses, these side effects usually do not happen. But, as we know, most people take biotin for hair loss or hair regrowth, and the doses they take range between 5,000 and 10,000 mcg (personally I take 10,000 mcg every night).
At those doses, if someone’s gut is sensitive, it definitely matters when to take biotin.
One reason why it’s worth taking it with food is that it’s better absorbed by the body. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, and it’s generally easily absorbed. But if you take it with food, the biotin pill or capsule is even faster absorbed right along with the food during the digestion process.
Studies have shown that diuretics decrease the absorption of biotin because, in effect, you will pee it out before it had a chance to get absorbed by the body all that much, which basically turns it into an expensive but useless vitamin.
The same goes for any other water-soluble vitamin like the other B vitamins and the vitamin C.
Adverse Effects of Supplementing With Biotin (Especially Taken Away From Food)
Generally, there are no known serious adverse effects when taking biotin. However, especially when taking it at higher doses, some side-effects have been noticed by a small group of individuals as I mentioned in the section above, particularly if they take the vitamin away from (or just before) food. These symptoms can include:
Thus, if you notice stomach upset and irritation after taking it on an empty stomach, make sure to either take it with a meal or soon after it. Food will drastically lessen any negative symptoms you might have (here pay attention if you are taking amounts of 5,000 mcg or higher).
In addition, a new study has reported that when taking biotin, it binds in the body with certain proteins. These proteins are needed to measure various health conditions during medical tests.
Thus, some diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, might give false flags (positives or negatives) during biotin supplementation as it can interfere with those tests and give incorrect results.
Since biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, it is not stored in the body and it’s excreted in the urine on a daily basis.
Stopping biotin for a couple of days will not have any adverse effects on your body, nor will it affect your hair growth.
An additional problem some people found with supplementing with it every day is that it can cause acne if you don’t drink enough water during the day. Biotin and water go hand-in-hand! When supplementing with higher doses, make sure to drink plenty of water, no matter what time you take it in the day.