As an essential nutrient, biotin is part of the B complex vitamins
Biotin plays a vital role in many bodily functions, from fueling the body’s cells to maintaining healthy hair, skin, and nails
Most teens and adults generally need 25-35 mcg of biotin a day
Foods that have biotin include liver, eggs, fatty fish, certain fruits and vegetables, dairy, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains
As an essential nutrient, biotin (part of the B complex vitamins) helps your body convert food into energy. Also known as vitamin B7, biotin provides a variety of health benefits such as supporting the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat and amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Biotin is needed for healthy hair, skin and nails and also to help the nervous system function properly.
But exactly what is biotin? And what foods contain biotin? Let’s dig into what the research says to learn more about this essential nutrient and specific vitamin B7 foods.
What Is Biotin?
Biotin actually goes by several names, including vitamin H and vitamin B7. It’s part of the B complex family of vitamins, which includes the following:
Thiamin (vitamin B1)
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
Niacin (vitamin B3)
Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
Biotin (vitamin B7)
Folic acid (vitamin B9)
Cobalamin (vitamin B12)
Just like all the B vitamins, biotin is water-soluble, which means the body doesn’t store it for future use. Biotin is also considered an essential vitamin, meaning it must be consumed in the diet or through supplementation because the body cannot naturally produce this nutrient.
What Foods Have Biotin?
When it comes to dietary biotin sources, liver actually contains the highest amount of biotin. Just a three-ounce serving gives you 27-35 mcg of biotin. Not a fan of beef liver? Fortunately, you’ve got plenty of other biotin food options available. In fact, most people can get the biotin they need by eating a balanced, healthy diet. However, If you’re looking to include more biotin-rich foods, consider these healthy options: [1-6]
Eggs, cooked (especially the egg yolk)
Dairy products (cheddar cheese, milk, yogurt)
Fish (salmon, sardines, tuna)
Fruits (apples, avocados, bananas, raspberries)
Meat (like pork and hamburger, but especially organ meat such as beef liver)
When thinking about your biotin intake, how much biotin should you get every day? Generally, it’s recommended that teens and adults get 25-35 mcg of biotin per day. In fact, biotin helps support normal embryonic growth, making it a vital nutrient during pregnancy.
What about biotin deficiency? Actually, it’s rare to see biotin deficiency and it can be avoided simply by eating healthy biotin-rich foods. But when a biotin deficiency does occur, it may produce symptoms such as hair loss, skin rash, high blood cholesterol levels, brittle nails, nervous system disorders, and heart problems.[4,5] The only cases of biotin deficiency have been attributed to regularly consuming raw egg whites over a long period of time (say, months to years). Raw eggs contain a compound called avidin, which prevents biotin absorption, and cooking destroys avidin.
Also, people with certain health conditions may need more biotin. Smoking can also cause a deficiency in biotin, and a biotin dietary supplement can help increase biotin levels.
The Bottom Line
As part of the B family of vitamins, biotin is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in many bodily functions. Not only does biotin help fuel the body’s cells, it may also help support healthy hair, skin and nails. Most teens and adults generally need 30-100 mcg of biotin a day, and it’s easy enough to get through food. What foods have biotin? Plenty! Top biotin-rich dietary sources include liver, eggs, fatty fish, fruits, vegetables, dairy, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. It’s rare to be deficient in biotin, but biotin supplements can help increase intake of this key nutrient.
Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.
Lisa Beach is a seasoned journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Eating Well, Parents, AARP’s Disrupt Aging, Optimum Wellness, and dozens more. She also writes for a variety of health/wellness-focused brands. Check out her writer’s website at www.LisaBeachWrites.com.
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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