Heart Health

Biotin supplements

Ask the doctor

By , Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing

photo in a drugstore aisle of a hand holding a supplement bottle with the label facing the viewer

Q. Your Q&A about elevated troponin levels in the October 2023 issue reminded me about a related issue I've been wondering about. I'm a 76-year-old woman with heart disease, which has necessitated several visits to the emergency room in recent years. I've heard that biotin supplements, which are supposed to promote hair and nail growth, can affect the accuracy of a troponin test. If this is a valid concern, is there a threshold for the amount of biotin a person can take? It's found in nearly all multivitamins.

A. Yes, taking supplements that contain high levels of biotin (vitamin B7) can lead to falsely low or falsely high results on a troponin test. Troponin, a protein found in heart muscle, is released into the bloodstream during a heart attack. Measuring blood troponin levels is the standard way to diagnose a heart attack.

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About the Author

photo of Christopher P. Cannon, MD

Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing

Dr. Christopher P. Cannon is editor in chief of the Harvard Heart Letter. He is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and senior physician in the Preventive Cardiology section of the Cardiovascular Division at … See Full Bio
View all posts by Christopher P. Cannon, MD

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