Biotin, also called Vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps the body convert food into energy. This vitamin is essential for hair, skin, eye, and brain function. It’s also vital for optimal liver functioning.
Your body does not store this vitamin, which means that you have to get it from your diet to maintain adequate levels. Your gut also produces a small amount of biotin, but it’s not yet established how much of it the body can absorb.
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, a lack of biotin can affect your nervous system, hair, skin, and nails. Besides, it may also cause a weakened immune system. That’s more reason you should eat more biotin-rich foods.
Although biotin deficiency is quite rare, it is important to stick to the daily value (DV) for biotin, which is 30 mcg per day.
While you can get biotin supplements to get an adequate amount of this vitamin, there are natural foods that contain a rich amount of biotin.
Without much ado, here are some natural sources of biotin:
Legumes like peanuts and soybeans are rich in biotin. Others like beans, peas, and lentils are high in fiber, protein, and numerous micronutrients.
One study found 100 gram serving of whole soybeans to contain 19.3 mcg of biotin and 64% of the DV.
Another study showed that 28 grams of roasted peanuts contain about 5 mcg of biotin or 17% of the DV.
Legumes are typically boiled and incorporated into baked dishes or stir-fries, or used as a base for salads and entrées.
2. Egg yolks
Eggs contain a high amount of iron, phosphorus, protein, and B vitamins. The egg yolk is rich in biotin but you need to cook them fully to improve the absorption of this vitamin. This reduces avidin, a protein that interferes with biotin absorption when you eat your eggs raw.
A study showed that a cooked egg carries 10 mcg of biotin or 33% of the DV.
Eggs can be scrambled, hard-boiled, or used in making baked goods like waffles or muffins.
3. Sweet potatoes
When considering foods rich in biotin, sweet potatoes are one of the best to eat. They’re also rich in minerals, vitamins, carotenoids, antioxidants, and fiber.
A study shows that cooked sweet potato (a half-cup serving) contains 2.4 mcg of biotin.
You can peel, boil and mash sweet potato into homemade veggie burger patties, or microwave until soft.
4. Seeds and nuts
Seeds and nuts are good sources of protein, unsaturated fat, and fiber. Most of them also provide biotin but the amount of the vitamin varies by type.
Some good sources of biotin include walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pecans, and many others.
A study shows that roasted almonds (a quarter-cup) offer 1.5 mcg of biotin, while roasted sunflower seeds (a quarter-cup) contain 2.6 mcg of biotin.
You can enjoy seeds and nuts raw, mix them into stir-fries and pasta dishes, toss them into salads, or blend them into homemade seed and nut butter.
Avocados are rich in vitamin E and they are good options for people looking to protect skin health. They also contain unsaturated fat, folate, and they’re one of the natural sources of biotin.
A study shows that a medium avocado (100 gram) contains 3.2 to 10mg of biotin.
You can eat avocados raw, stir them into guacamole, mash them onto toast, and slice them to top salads, burritos, and taco soup.
Broccoli is a nutrient-dense vegetable, containing a high amount of vitamin A and C, calcium, and fiber. It is also a good source of biotin, and studies show that a half-cup of raw chopped broccoli carries 0.4 mcg of biotin.
You can steam, roast, or eat broccoli raw with dip or hummus. You can also blend them into soups or sauté them and add to casseroles and pasta.
One of the best fruits you can eat to get a high amount of nutrients is bananas. This fruit is filled with carbs, fiber, and micronutrients like potassium, copper, and B vitamins.
One study showed that one small banana (105 grams) contains 0.2 mcg of biotin.
This fruit is either eaten raw or added to smoothies. You can also freeze them to make non-dairy ice cream or spread nut butter on them.
Mushrooms are edible fungi that are known to be highly nutritious. They are rich in biotin, which serves many health benefits and also protects them from predators and parasites in the wild.
A study on 20 caps of canned button mushrooms found that it contains 2.6 mcg of biotin.
You can enjoy canned mushrooms atop homemade pizzas and in gravies and sauces. The stuffed mushrooms can be stuffed and sautéed, baked, or added to salads.
The liver is organ meat and it contains a high amount of biotin. This can be traced biologically as the liver stores most of your body’s biotin.
You can enjoy the liver in many ways. Some people chop and cook to top pasta dishes, or fry them with onions. Some others mince them into homemade burger patties.
Salmon is known to be a good source of omega-3 fats, which helps skin hair health. These healthy fats may even be used as a supplement to prevent hair loss.
But asides from omega-3 fats, salmon is rich in biotin. A study showed that a 3-ounce cooked serving of salmon gives 5 mcg of biotin.
How Much of Biotin Do You Need?
According to the ODS, every adult is expected to take 30mcg of biotin daily. However, during breastfeeding, it is recommended to take 35 mcg.
Also, studies suggest that most western diets offer an average of 35-70 mcg of biotin per day. But some categories of people are at higher risk of a deficiency, and these include those who:
- Drink alcohol regularly
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Are unable to break down dietary protein to release biotin (a condition called biotinidase deficiency).
Biotin or vitamin B7 is an essential nutrient that is important for your skin, hair, eye, and brain function. However, your body cannot store this vitamin, and you have to get it from your diet. You can enjoy a rich amount of this vitamin from the natural sources of biotin listed above.
However, in cases of deficiency, you can take a biotin supplement to boost the level of this vitamin in your body. But don’t take any supplements without first consulting your doctor.