There’s no evidence to suggest biotin makes any form of birth control any less effective or causes any side effects. That means you can safely take biotin supplements or eat foods rich in biotin without worrying about them impacting your birth control. In fact, these supplements may help restore levels of vitamins depleted by long-term birth control use.
What Is Biotin?
Biotin is a water-soluble B-group vitamin, also known as vitamin B7. This vitamin helps your body turn carbohydrates, fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids into energy. It’s also believed to strengthen hair and nails, stimulate hair growth, improve skin condition, and lower blood sugar, although scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited. Biotin is found in several foods, including:
- Cooked eggs.
- Nuts and nut butters.
- Whole grains.
Biotin can also be taken in supplement form.
Why Should I Be Concerned?
It’s important to know how the supplements and medications you take interact with one another. Many supplements and medications make other medications less effective or increase the likelihood or severity of side effects. That’s why you should always be honest with the Nurx™ medical team when you’re discussing your health status.
People taking medications changed by the liver, including antipsychotics, antidepressants, and muscle relaxants, experience increased side effects when they take biotin. Alpha-lipoic acid or Vitamin B5 can impact the way the body absorbs biotin. High levels of some vitamins, such as vitamin C, can also make birth control less effective. However, biotin and birth control do not interact with one another in any way.
Should I Take Biotin With Birth Control?
As with all supplements, the decision about whether to take biotin is one you should discuss with the Nurx medical team. However, there are no drug interactions that should deter you from taking birth control and biotin.
Biotin deficiency is rare. Most people get the recommended 30 micrograms of biotin through their diet. Scientific evidence surrounding the benefits of biotin is also limited, so it’s unclear whether supplements will really make your nails stronger or your skin brighter.
However, long-term use of birth control pills has been linked to deficiencies in some B-vitamins. While research is limited at this stage, vitamin B7 may be one of the vitamins women who take birth control over an extended period may lack. Therefore, taking a biotin supplement or eating a biotin-rich diet could be important for helping the bodies of women who take the pill long-term continue working as they should.
Some medical experts also suggest biotin to offset the hair thinning that can be a side effect of various birth control options, including the depo-shot and NuvaRing. Biotin-infused shampoos may also be beneficial to women with this problem.
Other Medications and Supplements That Can Affect Birth Control
While biotin doesn’t impact birth control, some other medications and supplements can. Evidence suggests that while their effectiveness is not reduced on birth control, they could make your birth control less effective. You may want to speak to one of the Nurx medical team if you are using birth control and one of the following:
- Rifampin (Rifadin): Tuberculosis medication that decreases birth control hormone levels, making birth control pills, the patch, and NuvaRing less effective.
- Griseofulvin (Gris-PEG) and ketoconazole (Extina, Nizoral, Xolegel):Antifungal medication that can decrease birth control hormones, and thus reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills, the patch, and Nuvaring. The risk is believed to be low, but still worth considering if you don’t want to get pregnant.
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), primidone (Mysoline), and phenobarbital: These anticonvulsant medication used to treat seizures can all make hormonal birth control less effective.
- Darunavir (Prezista), efavirenz (Sustiva), lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra), and nevirapine (Viramune): These HIV medications can also make hormonal birth control less effective.
- Modafinil (Provigil): This stimulant prescribed for sleep disorders, including sleep apnea and narcolepsy, can make hormonal birth control less effective. Medical experts recommend using a back-up method for at least a week after you stop taking this medication.
- St. John’s wort: This herbal supplement used to treat the symptoms of depression and mild sleep disorders can stimulate the production of liver enzymes which speeds up the way your body metabolizes birth control and makes it less effective.
- Saw palmetto: This supplement used to reverse hair loss and reduce the impact of coughs and colds may reduce the effects of estrogen. It’s not recommended for people taking birth control containing estrogen, such as combination pills.
- Alfalfa: This herbal supplement used for kidney and bladder complaints may reduce the effects of estrogen in birth control containing this hormone. It may, therefore, make birth control with estrogen, such as combination pills, less effective.
- Garlic supplements: These pills used to lower cholesterol and blood pressure may make the body break down the estrogen in some birth control faster and make it less effective. This shouldn’t occur when eating foods containing garlic, as these foods are not as potent as garlic supplements.
- Flaxseed: This supplement used for digestion problems contains phytoestrogens that behave like estrogen in many forms of birth control. These forms of birth control may be less effective when you take flaxseed, as the different forms of estrogen compete with one another in the body.
If you take any of these medications or supplements, you may want to consider switching to a non-hormonal birth control method such as a copper IUD, condoms, or a diaphragm. Alternatively, you may like to find another alternative to treat your condition.
It’s been shown that many common antibiotics do not alter levels of oral contraceptive steroids. So long as you’re taking your birth control as prescribed, you won’t need a back-up contraceptive while you’re taking the following meds:
However, some medication providers still recommend using a barrier method, such as condoms, while using their antibiotics and a week after you finish the course of treatment. This extra layer of protection should help you prevent pregnancy while these companies are unsure whether their antibiotics will reduce the efficiency of your hormonal birth control.