This article will summarize all of the must-know information about biotin nutrition for registered dietitians. Dietitian Success Center’s membership includes access to vitamin & mineral supplement guides, a comprehensive yet simplified reference for finding the best supplements for your clients.
Written by Miranda Galati, RD
Reviewed by Olivia Farrow, RD, MHSc
Biotin Nutrition Overview
Biotin or vitamin B7 is a water-soluble nutrient found in protein foods such as fish, meat, eggs, nuts and some vegetables (1).
Biotin acts as a cofactor for many important steps in the metabolism of fatty acids, glucose and amino acids (1). Biotin is commonly found in supplements meant to improve nail, skin and hair health, although research to support these claims is limited (1).
Biotin is one of eight B vitamins. B vitamins are collectively important for energy metabolism and cell function (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).
Biotin Health Benefits
Biotin is often touted as a key nutrient to improve hair, skin and nail health (1). This is because it is involved in the production of keratin, which is an abundant protein in these areas of the body (9).
Individuals with a biotin deficiency may see improvements in hair, skin and nail health through supplementation (1). However, the evidence on biotin supplementation in the absence of deficiency is limited and inconclusive (1, 9, 10, 11).
Recent reviews found that:
- Biotin deficiency is rare (9).
- Biotin has no efficacy for nail health or growth (9).
- Biotin has no efficacy for skin health or appearance (11).
Claims that biotin may help with blood sugar regulation or kidney function are based on small animal studies (12, 13). Significantly more research is needed.
Biotin Nutrition Tips to Increase Intake
Biotin is often bound to protein in foods. It is found in a variety of foods including organ meats, eggs, fish, meat, seeds, nuts, and some vegetables. The biotin content in foods may vary depending on each food’s variety, growing season and processing.
See the table below for a more complete list of foods and their biotin (B7) content.
B7 Vitamin Foods*
|Food||Serving||Biotin per serving (mcg)|
|Beef liver, cooked||3 ounces or palm-sized portion||30.8|
|Egg, cooked**||1 egg||10.0|
|Salmon, canned||3 ounces or palm-sized portion||5.0|
|Pork chop, cooked||3 ounces or palm-sized portion||3.8|
|Hamburger patty, cooked||3 ounces or palm-sized portion||3.8|
|Sunflower seeds, roasted||¼ cup||2.6|
|Sweet potato, cooked||½ cup||2.4|
|Almonds, roasted||¼ cup||1.5|
|Tuna, canned||3 ounces or palm-sized portion||0.6|
|Spinach, boiled||½ cup||0.5|
|Broccoli, fresh||½ cup||0.4|
|Cheddar cheese||1 ounce or thumb-sized portion||0.4|
|Milk, 2%||1 cup||0.3|
|Plain yogurt||1 cup||0.2|
*Values are approximate and may vary by database and/or brand. FoodData Central does not list biotin content of foods so values are unconfirmed (1, 14).
Biotin deficiency is very rare (1). Healthy individuals with a varied diet are unlikely to develop biotin deficiency (1).
Signs and symptoms of biotin nutritiondeficiency include:
- Gradual hair thinning progressed to hair loss across the body (1)
- Scaly, red rash around body openings (1)
- Conjunctivitis (1)
- Seizures (1)
- Skin infection (1)
- Brittle nails (1)
- Depression or lethargy (1)
Contraindications & Safety
Biotin supplements are generally regarded as safe, although high intakes (above the AIs) are not recommended (1). There is no Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) established for biotin (1).
Biotin supplementation may interfere with the results of other biochemical or medical tests such as 25-hydroxyvitamin D, thyroid function tests, and troponin tests (1, 16).
Choosing a Safe Biotin Supplement
Regulation of dietary supplements differs in Canada and the United States. Anyone choosing to consume biotin or other dietary supplements should consider the following precautions:
- In the United States, consult with a third-party organization that tests supplement quality and claims, such as ConsumerLab.com, NSF International, or U.S. Pharmocopeia (USP) (17).
- In Canada, look for an 8-digit Natural Product Number (NPN) or Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) on the label. This ensures the product has been reviewed by Health Canada for safety, effectiveness and quality (19).
Get your biotin review supplement reference chart with biotin supplement brand examples with your DSC membership.
Biotin Nutrition: Take-Home Messages for Dietitians
- Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin found in many protein foods.
- Biotin is important for metabolism and cell function.
- Biotin supplements are unlikely to be beneficial for nail, skin or hair health unless someone has a biotin deficiency.
- Biotin deficiency is rare. It may occur in individuals with biotinidase deficiency, chronic alcohol exposure, pregnancy/breastfeeding or those taking anticonvulsant medications.
At DSC, we make it easier for dietitians and dietetic students to build expertise in topics including biotin supplements. Our vitamin and mineral supplement guides, nutrition courses, ready-to-use client handouts, and community can help you feel more confident.
Dietitian Success Center is THE professional development resource for dietitians and dietetic students. Our mission is to make it easier for dietitians and dietetic students to build expertise. We do this through evidence-based online nutrition courses, community, and ready-to-use client handouts. Plus – we give you the tools to start and grow your dietitian private practice!
- National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Office Of Dietary Supplements – Biotin. Retrieved June 16, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/
- National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Office Of Dietary Supplements – Thiamin. Retrieved June 16, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Thiamin-HealthProfessional/
- National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Office Of Dietary Supplements – Riboflavin. Retrieved June 16, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Riboflavin-HealthProfessional/
- National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Office Of Dietary Supplements – Niacin. Retrieved June 16, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Niacin-HealthProfessional/
- National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Office Of Dietary Supplements – Pantothenic Acid. Retrieved June 16, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/PantothenicAcid-HealthProfessional/
- National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Office Of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin B6. Retrieved June 16, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/
- National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Office Of Dietary Supplements – Folate. Retrieved June 16, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/
- National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Office Of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin B12. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
- Patel, D. P., Swink, S. M., & Castelo-Soccio, L. (2017). A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss. Skin Appendage Disord, 3(3), 166–169. 10.1159/000462981
- Şen, O., & Türkçapar, A. G. (2021). Hair Loss After Sleeve Gastrectomy and Effect of Biotin Supplements. Journal of Laparoendoscopic & Advanced Surgical Techniques, 31(3), 296–300. 10.1089/lap.2020.0468
- Dattola, A., Silvestri, M., Bennardo, L., Passante, M., Scali, E., Patruno, C., & Nisticò, S. P. (2020). Role of Vitamins in Skin Health: a Systematic Review. Curr Nutr Rep, 9(3), 226–235. 10.1007/s13668-020-00322-4
- Aldahmash, B. A., El-Nagar, D. M., Ibrahim, K. E., & Metwaly, M. S. (2015). Biotin amelioration of nephrotoxicity in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, 22(5), 564–569. 10.1016/j.sjbs.2015.03.003
- Sahin, K., Tuzcu, M., Orhan, C., Sahin, N., Kucuk, O., Ozercan, I. H., Juturu, V., & Komorowski, J. R. (2013). Anti-diabetic activity of chromium picolinate and biotin in rats with type 2 diabetes induced by high-fat diet and streptozotocin. Br J Nutr, 110(2), 197–205. 10.1017/S0007114512004850
- Health Canada. (n.d.). Dietary Reference Intakes. Retrieved June 18, 2021, from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/dietary-reference-intakes/tables/reference-values-vitamins-dietary-reference-intakes-tables-2005.html
- Examine.com. (2019, October 3). Biotin Supplement — Health Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects. Examine.Com. https://examine.com/supplements/biotin/
- FDA. (n.d.). The FDA Warns That Biotin May Interfere With Lab Tests. U.S. Food And Drug Administration. Retrieved June 18, 2021, from https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/safety-communications/fda-warns-biotin-may-interfere-lab-tests-fda-safety-communication
- Obeid, R., Heil, S. G., Verhoeven, M. M. A., van den Heuvel, E. G. H. M., de Groot, L. C. P. G. M., & Eussen, S. J. P. M. (2019). Vitamin B12 Intake From Animal Foods, Biomarkers, and Health Aspects. Front. Nutr., 6. 10.3389/fnut.2019.00093
- USP Verified. (2016, June 3). USP Verified Products Listing. Quality Supplements. https://www.quality-supplements.org/verified-products/verified-products-listings#list1
- Health Canada. (n.d.-b). Licensed Natural Health Products Database (LNHPD). Retrieved June 21, 2021, from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/natural-non-prescription/applications-submissions/product-licensing/licensed-natural-health-products-database.html