What is biotin?
Biotin is a vitamin that belongs to the “B complex vitamins” group. It’s also sometimes referred to as vitamin H. Like other B vitamins, biotin helps your body to convert food into energy. Having healthy amounts of biotin is associated with having glossy hair, glowing skin, and sturdy nails. Biotin is also essential for pregnancy, and it’s included in many prenatal vitamins. Biotin has also been found to promote a healthy and well-functioning liver.
Biotin can interact with some medications, but it’s been found to be generally nontoxic for people that are regularly exposed to it. You can purchase biotin supplements in health food stores and at the pharmacy, but you can also increase your biotin intake through your diet. Keep reading for a list of foods that contain biotin.
Biotin is present in egg yolks. Egg yolks should always be cooked before they are consumed, although heat preparation will decrease the amount of biotin you’re getting. Because of the function biotin serves in the development of an embryo, it makes sense that egg yolks are one of the most biotin-rich things you can eat.
Almonds that are raw, salted, or roasted contain high levels of biotin. Nuts and legumes in general are a source of biotin. The vitamin can also be found in soybeans, peanuts, green beans, walnuts, and pecans. Grabbing a handful of almonds as a snack will give you protein and vitamin E in addition to a biotin boost.
Raw cauliflower contains 17 micrograms of biotin per serving. That’s a lot when you consider that most healthy Americans get between 100 and 300 micrograms of biotin each day. Since biotin is water-soluble, eat cauliflower raw to get the maximum nutritional benefit. Try slow-roasting it in the oven, or get creative and rice your cauliflower when you prepare it.
Most dairy products contain some amount of biotin. Blue cheese and Camembert cheese were found to have the most biotin in a study of 23 types of cheese. Cheddar and American cheese are also rich in biotin.
The biotin content of mushrooms helps to protect them from parasites and predators as they grow. Preparing mushrooms in a saute works to get you biotin, but eating them raw is even better. Try sliced mushrooms in a spinach salad with some hard-boiled egg yolks and almonds tossed in for a biotin-infused and protein-rich lunch or dinner.
6. Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes contain some of the highest levels of biotin found in vegetables. Since sweet potatoes also contain beta carotene, they’re great to eat if you’re looking to improve your skin’s appearance. Try getting some sweet potatoes in a less traditional source, like mashing sweet potatoes or sprinkling them with sea salt and roasting them in the oven.
Spinach contains one of the highest biotin levels among the leafy green vegetables. Freezing spinach doesn’t make it any less powerful; one serving of chopped leaf spinach that’s been frozen contains 7 micrograms of biotin. Fresh spinach is ideal because of how nutrient-dense and fiber-packed it tends to be.
Potential risks and complications of biotin
Biotin can interfere with certain medications. If you’re taking medicine for seizures, ask your doctor if it’s wise for you to take biotin supplements. If you’re nursing or pregnant, you’re probably already getting high doses of biotin in your prenatal vitamins. Avoid taking additional forms of biotin unless your doctor suggests doing so.
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning your body doesn’t store it in its organs. Taking biotin supplements first thing in the morning might help your energy level. On the other hand, taking B vitamins late at night could interfere with your sleep cycles, so be mindful when you take any vitamin B supplement.
Other sources of biotin
Biotin can be naturally found in your body. It is manufactured in your intestines as a part of your digestive function. It’s unlikely that you’ll overdose on biotin if you want to take a supplement containing it. But keep in mind that while it’s nice to add biotin to your diet, you might not need it.
Biotin can be purchased in a powder to add to shakes or smoothies. It can also be obtained in a capsule form and in a liquid extract. If you look at the ingredients for commercial products promising stronger hair or better skin, many contain biotin.
Most people don’t have a biotin deficiency, per se, but it usually doesn’t hurt to take in more biotin through your diet. Be aware that if your nails are dull or your skin isn’t looking its best, it’s probably not because of a biotin deficiency. It could be due to another underlying health problem.