Foods Rich In Biotin and Their Health Benefits

Medically Reviewed By Kim Chin, RD
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Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin in many foods, including meats, eggs, vegetables, and seeds. It plays an essential role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Biotin helps convert glucose (sugars), fats, and amino acids from the food we eat into energy for the body. A biotin deficiency could lead to thinning hair and brittle nails, so it’s important to get enough in your diet.

Biotin is in many foods, and you can also get it from supplements. While a biotin deficiency is rare, some individuals, such as those who are pregnant or nursing, are more at risk for deficiency.

This article discusses foods high in biotin and how this nutrient can contribute to health and wellness. It also looks at the risks of getting too much or too little biotin, recommended amounts, and more.

What foods are rich in biotin?

Sweet potatoes on plates are on a red tablecloth.
Violeta Pasat/Stocksy United

Below are some top sources of biotin in food.

Egg yolks

A whole egg (50 grams) provides approximately 10 micrograms (mcg) of biotin, or roughly 33% of the daily value (DV). The yolk is especially rich in biotin.

Egg whites contain a protein called avidin, which can bind to biotin and interfere with its absorption if eaten raw, so be sure to cook the whites.

Eggs are also a great source of protein, other B vitamins, and choline.

Learn more about the health benefits of eggs.

Organ meats

Certain organ meats, especially liver, are rich sources of biotin. This makes sense since biotin is mostly stored in the liver.

Beef liver is another organ meat rich in biotin. A 3-ounce (oz) serving contains 30.8 mcg of biotin, which is 103% of the DV.

Three ounces is about the size of a deck of cards.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are high in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and phytochemicals. They’re also one of the top plant sources of biotin.

Half a cup of cooked sweet potatoes contains 2.4 mcg of biotin, or 8% of the DV.

Salmon

A 3 oz serving of salmon contains 5 mcg of biotin, or 17% of the DV.

Salmon is also rich in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which have numerous health benefits. Some research suggests it may even stimulate hair growth.

Pork chop

A cooked 3 oz serving of pork chop provides 3.8 mcg of biotin, or 13% of the DV. A hamburger patty has the same amount of biotin, according to the National Institute of Health.

Sunflower seeds

Nuts and seeds in general are good sources of biotin, but sunflower seeds are reported to contain the most in this category.

Half a cup of roasted sunflower seeds provides 2.6 mcg of biotin, or 9% of the DV. Sunflower seeds are also high in vitamin E.

Learn about the health benefits of nuts and seeds.

Other foods rich in biotin

Other foods rich in biotin include:

  • beans and legumes
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • whole grains
  • nutritional yeast
  • some dairy products, including
    • milk
    • cheese
    • yogurt

Food-processing techniques and cooking methods can impact the activity of biotin in foods. If you need more biotin in your diet, your doctor can refer you to a dietitian who can help you learn how to prepare foods to get the most biotin.

What are the health benefits of biotin?

Biotin serves as an essential cofactor to enzymes known as carboxylases. Carboxylases catalyze key reactions in many metabolic processes. As such, it exhibits a wide range of functions.

Because biotin is essential in forming proteins, it may contribute to hair, skin, and nail health. A biotin deficiency can also cause abnormalities in the fatty acid composition of skin.

A 2019 study found that biotin is essential for regulating zinc and that biotin deficiency can lead to zinc deficiency. Getting enough biotin can ensure you also have enough zinc.

Some other health benefits of biotin include:

  • managing blood sugar levels
  • supporting hair, skin, and nail health
  • promoting healthy brain function

There currently is not enough evidence to establish a recommended daily allowance of biotin.

However, the daily adequate intake for biotin is 30 mcg daily for adults ages 19 years or older.

The National Institute of Health recommends that those who are pregnant or breastfeeding or chestfeeding get 35 mcg a day.

Are there any risks of having too much biotin?

Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, so any extra amount will be excreted through your urine. There is no established upper limit or toxicity threshold associated with biotin.

The National Institutes of Health reports that no adverse effects were observed from individuals taking 10–50 mg/day of biotin, and up to 200 mg a day orally or 20 mg per day intravenously.

While most people may be able to tolerate biotin supplements, some people report mild side effects such as nausea and digestive issues.

Should I take biotin supplements?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that there is insufficient data to support recommending supplementation.

However, your doctor may recommend a supplement if you cannot get enough biotin through food. 

The following groups of people are at risk for a biotin deficiency:

  • individuals with biotinidase deficiency
  • individuals with chronic alcohol exposure
  • people who are pregnant or nursing

Contact your doctor if you have concerns about your biotin intake.

When should I see a doctor?

Contact your doctor or dietitian for more personalized advice on getting more biotin.

Also, you should contact your doctor or licensed nutrition professional before making any significant changes to your diet or if you’re interested in taking a biotin supplement.

They can advise on ways to get more biotin into your diet and whether they recommend supplements for biotin.

Other frequently asked questions

Which food has the highest biotin?

Organ meats, especially beef liver, are reported to have the highest amount of biotin. Egg yolks are another top source of biotin.

Which fruit is rich in biotin?

Bananas are particularly rich in biotin. They contain around 0.2 mcg per serving.


How can I increase biotin in my hair?

You can boost your biotin intake by eating a varied diet of foods rich in biotin. Your doctor may also recommend supplements. Biotin may help strengthen your hair by boosting your keratin.

Summary

Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in many body functions. It contributes to hair, skin, and nail health and is a coenzyme for carboxylation reactions.

Most people can meet their daily needs by eating a variety of foods. However, some people are more at risk of developing a deficiency.

Contact your doctor if you have concerns about your biotin intake. They may refer you to a registered dietitian who can help you to find ways to manage biotin in your diet.

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Medical Reviewer: Kim Chin, RD
Last Review Date: 2022 Nov 28
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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