Biotin is one of the eight B vitamins. Also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, biotin is water-soluble, which means your body doesn’t store it, so it’s important to consume a sufficient amount on a daily basis.

What are the health benefits of biotin?

There are many health benefits to Biotin.

Biotin helps to convert the carbohydrates, fats and proteins in the food you eat, into the energy your body needs.

It is responsible for forming the basis of skin and hair cells, and some research suggests that taking a biotin supplement may help to improve nail strength and condition.

How much biotin do you need?

Like most essential nutrients, the amount of biotin you need each day varies depending on whether you’re male or female, as well as your life stage.

Age Biotin – Adequate Intake (AI)*
1 to 3 years
4 to 8 years
8 microgram/day
12 microgram/day
9 to 13 years
14 to 18 years

20 microgram/day
30 microgram/day
9 to 13 years
14 to 18 years

20 microgram/day
25 microgram/day
19+ years

30 microgram/day

19+ years

25 microgram/day
30 microgram/day
35 microgram/day

* Source: Australian National Health and Medical Research Council’s Nutrient Reference Values

Which foods contain biotin?

Biotin rich foods include organ meats, such as liver, but many other foods, including meat, fish, seeds and nuts and certain vegetables, also contain biotin but in lower amounts. For example:
Food Biotin content
Beef liver (85g, cooked) 30.8 microgram
1 egg 10 microgram
Tinned salmon (85g) 5 microgram
Pork chop (85g, cooked) 3.8 microgram
Sunflower seeds (1/4 cup, roasted) 2.6 microgram
Sweet potato (1/2 cup, cooked) 2.4 microgram
Spinach (1 cup, boiled) 1 microgram

Other sources include legumes, wholegrains, cauliflower, bananas, brewer’s yeast and mushrooms.

Biotin is also available in supplement form, usually as part of a vitamin B complex supplement, a multivitamin, or one intended to improve and support healthy skin, hair and nails

Are you getting enough biotin?

Due to the fact that a wide range of foods contain biotin, deficiency in this vitamin is quite rare. However, consuming too many raw egg whites, which bodybuilders often like to do, can cause a deficiency because a protein in the egg white, called avidin, inhibits biotin absorption.

Cooking destroys avidin’s biotin-binding capabilities, so eating cooked egg white doesn’t pose the same problem.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women may also find it more challenging to get enough biotin – in fact, research shows that at least a third of all pregnant women develop marginal biotin deficiency, even though their dietary intake of the vitamin is adequate.

Symptoms of biotin deficiency include brittle nails, hair loss, pale skin, muscle pain and weakness and fatigue.