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All TopicsForum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During and After → Topic: Biotin Question

Topic: Biotin Question

Forum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During and After — Risks and benefits, side effects, and costs of anti-estrogen medications.

Posted on: Feb 11, 2008 09:45AM, edited Feb 11, 2008 09:47AM by Jenniferz

Jenniferz wrote:

I have been taking Biotin at the advice of others for hair thinning (due to Femara), and skin problems.  Don't know if the hair thinning is any better, but the skin thing is.  In talking with a friend this morning, we were discussing B complex vitamins, and the advantage of them.  Then we were talking about the dosage, and the amount to take....regular vs. mega.

As I take a capsule with 5,000 units of Biotin, I never really considered this to be excessive.  HOWEVER, when I went to the ACS page, I found this little blurb:

Vitamin B7 (biotin) helps break down protein and carbohydrates, and helps the body make hormones.  Does anyone know WHICH hormones it helps make?  Estrogen or Progestrogen, perhaps?  Good grief---that would be disasterous since I am both ER/PR positive!!!!!

I am really about to run screaming......not that would help anything, but I would get alot of stress off me!  Any insight here, ladies?

Thanks,

Jennifer

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Posts 1 - 18 (18 total)

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Feb 11, 2008 11:08AM Calico wrote:

Yiiikkkeeessss!!!!

I hope this isn't so....

Off to Edge's site to find clues....

God Bless

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics

Dx IDC, Stage IIa, Grade 2, ER+, HER2-
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Feb 11, 2008 11:35AM, edited Feb 11, 2008 11:37AM by Calico

Well,

could not find much but Progesterone seems to be reduced in biotin deficient patients...so adding biotin could potentially up the progesterone??

Secretion of progesterone was reduced in biotin-deficient cells; this effect was caused by reduced generation of new cells in deficient media rather than by an immediate effect of biotin on progesterone secretion at the singlecell-level.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/dgjx7dfwtye5yptv/?p=85ede3d861a745698fc16055650c181f&pi=3

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics

Dx IDC, Stage IIa, Grade 2, ER+, HER2-
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Feb 11, 2008 12:44PM milklet wrote:

YIKES IS RIGHT!!!

I've been taking Biotin for over 2 months now for hair loss on Femara.  I'm strongly er+.  Anyone with any answers on this?  I showed the bottle of Biotin to my onc. about a month ago, she didn't seem to have any problem with it, but who knows if she's really familiar with the effects???

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Feb 11, 2008 07:59PM Jenniferz wrote:

So, here's another question.....Femara stops or interrupts erstrogene....what's stopping the progesteron?  Or, do they just not worry about that one as much?

I showed my onc AND pcp, and they both said, "Fine, whatever you think works---use. Biotin's good."  I know this...that's why I picked it up and started using it MONTHS ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Feb 11, 2008 10:44PM sassy wrote:

Hi, all

I just had my onc visit today and told them I was taking Biotin. They had no problems with it. It sure helps with my hair and I am estrogen +. Good luck

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Feb 12, 2008 06:45PM JoanofArdmore wrote:

Hi Jenny,

I came to tell you that I suffered hair thinning for my last 2 years on Femara.Not pretty, nor was the continual shedding clean-up.

The Biotin stopped it.So I took it regularly for last2 years.Once the shedding started again, so I had to go to 2K Biotin.

My problem with Femara was severe estrogen depletion.The biotin "hormones" never helped a bit!I couldda used some estrogen!

PLUS, my onc drew for estradiol each visit.My estrogen continued to plummet.I SO wished for a tiny boost in estrogen!

So I think we can safely take biotin.W/out screaming & running!

Still, I continue to continue to pretend, my life will never end, and flowers never bend with the rainfall . Paul Simon

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Feb 12, 2008 09:30PM NancyT19 wrote:

Hi Ladies.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering's Herb & Supplement website gives biotin an OK, but suggests that patients discuss it with their doctor because "biotin supplementation may theoretically weaken the immune system." I read this to be an issue for patients in active treatment.  For more information go to the site:  http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69137.cfm

If you are not familiar with MSK's site, it is a great resource. 

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Feb 13, 2008 06:18AM NativeMainer wrote:

Biotin is involved in the process of making lipids (fatty acids), in the processing of carbohydrates, and in the liver to make and store glucose (blood sugar).  The medical world does not recognize biotin deficiency.  Large enough doses can cause diarrhea.  Recommended daily intake is 30 micrograms  (0.03 miligrams) per day for adults. 

Lipids are used by the body to make enzymes and hormones, but I can't see where biotin is directly involved in hormone production. 

 http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002410.htm

http://www.chem.uwec.edu/Webpapers2001/barkacs/Pages/function.html

dx 3/07, Stage 2, Grade 2 IDC, 2.8cm, ER+PR+, Her2(-), SN-, lumpectomy & rads, mastectomy 8/15/08, right prophy mast and bilateral DIEP recon 6/21/10

Dx 3/9/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 13, 2008 11:15AM Calico wrote:

NativeMainer,

do you think supplementation could elevate blood glucose since it stores glucose in the liver?

God Bless

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics

Dx IDC, Stage IIa, Grade 2, ER+, HER2-
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Feb 13, 2008 02:54PM NativeMainer wrote:

I don't think so. Biotin is necessary for the liver to change extra glucose to glycogen for storage and to change glycogen back to glucose when blood sugar levels drop.  Since biotin is involved in both directions it should help the liver become more effecient in reacting to rising and falling insulin levels and help keep blood sugars level. 

dx 3/07, Stage 2, Grade 2 IDC, 2.8cm, ER+PR+, Her2(-), SN-, lumpectomy & rads, mastectomy 8/15/08, right prophy mast and bilateral DIEP recon 6/21/10

Dx 3/9/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 13, 2008 06:43PM JoanofArdmore wrote:

Thank you, NativeMainer!

And Nancy, I do know SK's herbal site.It's very informative indeed!

I came back here because I realize I was whining about my hair thinning.

This picture was taken after 3 years of femara, and lots of hair-thinning.Doesnt look it, does it?Honestly, the biotin WORKS!!

I now wear my hair short.Couldnt take the Ronald McDonald look any more.The chemo curl made it grow not only long, but but sideways!

And..the Biotin works!

hugs, joan

Still, I continue to continue to pretend, my life will never end, and flowers never bend with the rainfall . Paul Simon

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Feb 15, 2008 12:31AM Jenniferz wrote:

Hi Joan.

Biotin has stopped my thinning to a degree.  It's helped my skin also.  Like I said, my onc. didn't seemed concerned, nor does my pcp. I think I just flipped when I saw what the ACS said about it.

I like your hair by the way.....you should see mine!  It's stringy and mousey looking, and that's without the chemo!

Well, looks like I need to find another excuse to run and scream...sure felt good while I was doing that!!!  Laughing

Jennifer

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Feb 15, 2008 06:52PM JoanofArdmore wrote:

Awwwww Honey!Sorry to spoil your fun!If it feels great-go ahead and keep doing it!!

Still, I continue to continue to pretend, my life will never end, and flowers never bend with the rainfall . Paul Simon

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Feb 28, 2008 11:12AM Believer0711 wrote:

Wow, thanks for this thread ladies! I've been taking biotin and nu-hair for years. After I was diagnosed in November, I quit taking it because I thought it may have caused my cancer. Thanks for the research you've all made, I can start taking it again. Is it safe to take it during chemo though? I'm losing my hair fast after my treatment 3 weeks ago. (I'm wearing a wig in my avatar.)

God bless,

Aurora

Deut 7:15 and Psalm 91:16 "The Lord has taken sickness away from the midst of me and given me a full life span."

Dx 11/12/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/8 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 28, 2008 11:55AM Believer0711 wrote:

Hi, I searched for biotin and cancer, and found this study --- http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/134/9/2222

It's quite a reading, but if you check the DISCUSSION section 2nd paragraph, i quote..."Second and most importantly, this study provides no direct evidence concerning whether biotin supplementation enhances cancer risk in vivo in humans."

Here's where I got confused. I quote..."First, biotin deficiency is associated with increased nuclear translocation of NF-{kappa}B, enhancing the transcriptional activity of antiapoptotic genes in human lymphoid cells (54). Nuclear translocation of NF-{kappa}B may impair the efficacy of cancer chemotherapy, based on the following lines of evidence. Cancer cells respond to chemotherapy with nuclear translocation of NF-{kappa}B (55-57), mediating survival and, thus, resistance to therapy (55,58,59). In preliminary studies, we treated biotin-deficient and biotin-supplemented human lymphoma cells with antineoplastic agents. In those studies, biotin deficiency was associated with increased nuclear abundance of NF-{kappa}B, increased activity of the anti-apoptotic Bfl-1 gene, and increased survival of lymphoma cells (J. B. Griffin and J. Zempleni, unpublished data)."

Can someone please translate this in layman's terms? I cannot understand. Thanks!!!

God bless,

Aurora 

Deut 7:15 and Psalm 91:16 "The Lord has taken sickness away from the midst of me and given me a full life span."

Dx 11/12/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/8 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 29, 2008 07:41AM Rosemary44 wrote:

I certainly can't translate it, my eyes glazed over really quick, but I went to the bottom line.  Though it's speculation, after all that work they did, and yet: "Nevertheless, this study provides evidence that the use of biotin supplements might be associated with undesired patterns of gene expression in humans".   I'm not too sure that statement was proved to be true in this paper, just theory?
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Feb 29, 2008 09:14AM NativeMainer wrote:

I'll take a stab at translation--

..."First, biotin deficiency is associated with increased nuclear translocation of NF- B, enhancing the transcriptional activity of antiapoptotic genes in human lymphoid cells (54).

Apoptosis is the fancy term for programmed cell death.  Each of our cells has apoptic genes. These genes determine how long the cell lives and then triggers changes that kill the cell at the 'appointed' time.  This is an anti-cancer effect.  Anti-apoptic genes are genes that counter the effect of apoptic genes, allowing cells to live beyond the time intended for that cell.  Anti-apoptic genes are cancer-promoting genes that make cells harder to kill.  If the cells are normal, this isn't much of a problem, if the cells are abnormal (i.e. cancerous) this is a problem. 

 Nuclear translocation of NF- B may impair the efficacy of cancer chemotherapy, based on the following lines of evidence. Cancer cells respond to chemotherapy with nuclear translocation of NF- B (55-57), mediating survival and, thus, resistance to therapy (55,58,59).

Many cancer chemotherapy drugs are thought to work partly by triggering programmed cell death (apoptosis), through this NF- B gene process in lymphoid cells.  In lymphoid cells where this gene has been changed to the anti-apoptic (cancer-promoting) form, the cancer drugs may not be able to trigger cell death.  So this change may protect cancer cells from one of the effects of chemotherapy

In preliminary studies, we treated biotin-deficient and biotin-supplemented human lymphoma cells with antineoplastic agents.

The authors used lymphoma cells in the laboratory (not in living humans) to test the effect of biotin. One 'dish' of lymphoma cells were supplemented with biotin, the other 'dish' of lymphoma cells was low in biotin.  It doesn't say how they made the lymphoma cells biotin deficient.  Supplementing the lymphoma cells can be done by putting biotin in the 'dish' with the lymphoma cells.    

In those studies, biotin deficiency was associated with increased nuclear abundance of NF- B, increased activity of the anti-apoptotic Bfl-1 gene, and increased survival of lymphoma cells (J. B. Griffin and J. Zempleni, unpublished data)."

The authors' study showed that the lymphoma cells that were low in biotin had a higher rate of change of the NF- B change to the cancer-promoting form, and a higher activity level of the Bfl-1 (another cancer-promoting gene) than the biotin supplemented lymphoma cells.  The low in biotin lymphoma cells were more resistant to the chemotherapy drug(s) used than the lymphoma cells with biotin supplementation

Looking at the full study (thank you, Aurora, for the link) I noticed this in the discussion:

This study provided evidence that expression of the human CYP1B1 gene depends on the concentration of biotin in culture media.

This means the effect of the CYP1B1 gene are stronger the higher the biotin concentration in the 'dish' 

It is likely that the effects of biotin are mediated by the transcription factors Sp1 or Sp3.

 This is a reference to the specific biochemical pathways that use biotin, or need biotin to function correctly. 

The transcriptional activation of CYP1B1 is associated with increased activity of CYP1B1 in human lymphoid cells, and with the increased occurrence of single-stranded DNA breaks.

 Stonger effect of CYP1B1 in human lymphoid cells is associated with more frequent breaks in one strand of the lymphoid cell's DNA.  Breaks in DNA strands are one way mutations happen.  Stronger CYP1B1 effect may mean more chances for mutation, which means more chances for a cancer to start. 

These findings are physiologically important given the key role for cytochromes P450 in the metabolic activation of procarcinogens and, thus, in cancerogenesis (27,29,31-33).

CYP1B1 is part of the cytochrome P-450 system, one of the major enzyme systems in the liver responsible for metabolism of drugs, the making and deactivation of many enzymes, and a huge number of other biochemical funtions in the body. This system also changes prodrugs to real drugs (like changing the prodrug tamoxifen to the active drug endoxifen).  Likewise, this system can change procarcinogens (inactive chemicals and substances) to carcinogens (active chemicals and substances that cause cancer). 

It should be emphasized that increased expression of CYP1B1 was also observed when comparing lymphocytes from biotin-supplemented individuals with normal controls (19).

The authors compared the strength of CYP1B1 activity in lymph cells in 'dishes' that were supplemented with biotin and the strength of CYP1B1 activity in lymph cells taken from living humans who had been taking biotin supplements.  The increased activity was similar in both sets of cells.    

This is consistent with the hypothesis that biotin supplementation alone increases CYP1B1 expression without requiring experimental comparison to the other extreme of biotin intake, deficiency.

Comparing the  CYP1B1 strength in the cells in 'dishes' to the CYP1B1 strength in cells from living humans taking biotin supplements reinforces the conclusion that biotin supplementation increases CYP1B1 strength.  Scientifically, this is considered adequate 'proof' of a relationship between biotin supplementation and CYP1B1 strength without testing cells from living humans that are biotin deficient. 

There are a few uncertainties associated with the findings presented here. First, we cannot formally exclude the possibility that biotin supplementation decreased the turnover of CYP1B1; theoretically, this would contribute to the increased abundance of CYP1B1 observed in biotin-supplemented cells.

 The whole biochemical pathway that uses biotin and determines the strength of CYP1B1 is not yet known.  It is possible that biotin, rather than increasing the strength of CYP1B1, may be decreasing the strength of CYP1B1 in cells that have an overactive CYP1B1 system, that the CYP1B1 strength would be even higher if biotin wasn't supplemented.  Medical science does not yet know enough about all the steps in the is pathway to say with certainty. 

Second and most importantly, this study provides no direct evidence concerning whether biotin supplementation enhances cancer risk in vivo in humans.

All the evidence in this research is indirect, meaning the authors are making conclusions based on what is known about the CYP1B1 pathway and what chemicals can be measured at the present time, and making educated guesses.  I am not using the phrase 'educated guess' in a negative way, but with respect for the considerable knowledge the authors have in a very complicated are of human physiology.    What this study does do is reveal a direction of research that may be profitable and helpful in treating/preventing lymphoma. 

Overall, this study tells us that biotin supplementation is probably not harmful, may be helpful, and more research is needed. 

dx 3/07, Stage 2, Grade 2 IDC, 2.8cm, ER+PR+, Her2(-), SN-, lumpectomy & rads, mastectomy 8/15/08, right prophy mast and bilateral DIEP recon 6/21/10

Dx 3/9/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 8, 2013 08:08AM suz54 wrote:

hi jen! i am also taking biotin due to hair thinning caused by femora. however, i only take 30 mcg on days i don't eat much protein. it takes at lot of biotin to break down protein and we only get a little bit of it from our sources. it is working for my hair and skin and wouldn't worry much about it. i think in moderation, it is a good thing.

suz54

Dx 2/14/2000, ILC, 2cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-