Biotin (vitamin B7) is an essential nutrient found in many foods, but the amount of biotin present in those foods can vary
It’s very rare for people living in the United States to have a biotin deficiency
There are certain populations, however, that are more likely to have difficulty consuming enough biotin from their diets alone
Biotin deficiency symptoms include hair loss, brittle nails, and red rashes on the skin
For most people living in the United States, a biotin deficiency is very rare. Apart from having a relatively low daily recommended amount of only 30 mcg, this essential B vitamin is also found in a range of foods.1
That said, there are distinct biotin deficiency symptoms, and certain groups of people are more at risk of not getting enough biotin from their diets alone. Here are a few key things to keep an eye out for when it comes to a biotin deficiency.
Prolonged lack of biotin intake could lead to a biotin inadequacy or deficiency. Biotin deficiency can cause issues in your skin, eyes, hair, and nervous system.3 Symptoms include but are not limited to skin rash, hair loss, brittle nails, or even pinkeye.1
How To Increase Biotin Intake
Biotin is an essential vitamin, and can be found in lots of foods. But the concentration of biotin in food varies substantially. For example, liver contains biotin at about 100 μg/100 g while fruits and most meats contain only about 1 μg/100 g.
Here is a list of foods containing biotin:4
Beef liver (cooked, 3 ounces ODSHP): 30.8 mcg biotin per serving
Egg (whole, cooked): 10.0 mcg biotin per serving
Salmon (pink, canned in water, 3 ounces): 5.0 mcg biotin per serving
Pork chop (cooked, 3 ounces): 3.8 mcg biotin per serving
Hamburger patty (cooked, 3 ounces): 3.8 mcg biotin per serving
Sunflower seeds (roasted, ¼ cup ODSHP): 2.6 mcg biotin per serving
Sweet potato (cooked, ½ cup ODSHP): 2.4 mcg biotin per serving
Almonds (roasted, ¼ cup ODSHP): 1.5 mcg biotin per serving
Tuna (canned in water, 3 ounces): 0.6 mcg biotin per serving
Spinach (boiled, ½ cup): 0.5 mcg biotin per serving
Broccoli (fresh, ½ cup): 0.4 mcg biotin per serving
Cheddar cheese (mild, 1 ounce): 0.4 mcg biotin per serving
Biotin deficiencies are rare and should be treated under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
That said, there are distinct biotin deficiency symptoms, such as skin rash, brittle nails, or hair loss. Also, certain groups are more at risk of not getting enough biotin from their diets alone, such as pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with alcohol dependence, or those with a rare genetic disorder known as “biotinidase deficiency.”1 Consult your healthcare practitioner if you think you may be at risk of or developing a biotin deficiency.
The Bottom Line
While biotin deficiencies are very rare in the U.S., this essential nutrient plays many important roles in the body. Thankfully, biotin is found in many foods such as eggs, salmon, cheddar cheese, pork, sweet potatoes, or sunflower seeds.2,4 Dietary supplements can help fill any gaps in your diet as well. But keep in mind that biotin may interfere with some lab tests and be sure to let your doctor know you’re consuming a biotin supplement if you need to do lab tests. Even if you don’t have a deficiency, if you’re not getting enough of this vital B vitamin from your diet alone, increasing your intake even marginally, can have a positive effect.†
Institute of Medicine (US) Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes and its Panel on Folate, Other B Vitamins, and Choline. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1998. 11, Biotin. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK114297/
Melissa is a registered dietitian (RD) and works in our Medical and Scientific Communications department as a Science and Health Educator. She has worked for Pharmavite for over 20 years educating consumers, healthcare practitioners, retailers and employees about nutrition, dietary supplements and overall wellness. Prior to joining the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Melissa launched and managed Pharmavite’s Consumer Relations department. Melissa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science, from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and completed her dietetic internship at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in East Orange New Jersey.
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