Health Topics

Biotin: Foods, Supplements and Lab Warning

Also known as vitamin H, biotin is one of the B complex vitamins that help the body convert food into energy. Biotin helps keep your skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system healthy. Biotin is also a crucial nutrient during pregnancy, as it’s important for embryonic growth.

The Truth About Biotin Supplements

Biotin supplements are frequently taken and promoted for improving nails, skin and hair. So, are biotin vitamins worth taking? There's little scientific evidence that biotin supplements can actually improve hair, skin, or nail health in people who don't have a biotin deficiency. There may be some minor improvement in nails more than hair, but more research is needed.

Biotin Supplements

The daily recommended biotin dose is between 30mcg - 35mcg. It’s always best to get nutrients from natural sources. But if you’re unable to get enough biotin naturally, a supplement may be suggested by your doctor.

Diabetes management

Studies show that biotin supplements may help manage symptoms of diabetes. It might help reduce blood sugar levels, total cholesterol, and blood fats in some people with diabetes. But it doesn't have much effect on insulin levels.


Biotin is necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Studies show that about a third of pregnant women in the U.S. have mild biotin deficiencies, but we need more research to understand why. During pregnancy, make sure to eat foods rich in biotin. To help promote baby health, take prenatal vitamins that contain biotin and folic acid during pregnancy. High doses of biotin, however, can be dangerous to the baby, so additional supplementation of biotin isn’t recommended.

10 Biotin Rich Foods

1. Meat

Most of our body’s biotin is stored in the liver, so it makes sense that liver is high in biotin. Biotin-rich meats include:

2. Eggs

Eggs are another good source of biotin. One egg has 10 mcg of biotin.

3. Seeds and Nuts

  • Sunflower seeds: ¼ cup has 2.6 mcg
  • Almonds: ¼ cup has 1.5 mcg

4. Vegetables

  • Sweet potatoes: ½ cup has 2.4 mcg
  • Spinach: ½ cup has 0.5 mcg
  • Broccoli: ½ cup has 0.4 mcg
  • Avocados: a medium avocado has 1.85 mcg of biotin

5. Tuna

Three ounces of tuna has 0.6 mcg.

6. Dairy

  • Cheddar cheese: 1 ounce has 0.4 mcg
  • Milk: 1 cup of 2% milk has 0.3 mcg
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt has 0.2 mcg

7. Legumes

Legumes like soybeans and roasted peanuts are rich in biotin. They are also good sources of protein and fiber.

8. Mushrooms

Approximately 20 caps (120 grams) of canned button mushrooms contain 2.6 mcg of biotin, which is nearly 10% of the DV.

9. Bananas

One small banana has 0.2 mcg of biotin.

10. Oatmeal

One cup of oatmeal has 0.2mcg of biotin.

Biotin Deficiency

It's rare to have a biotin deficiency, especially when you're healthy and eat a well-balanced diet. But there are symptoms if you're low on biotin, and they usually show up slowly. Symptoms include:

  • Hair loss (alopecia)
  • Red rash around your eyes, nose, mouth, and genital area
  • Brittle nails
  • Depression
  • Lethargy (lack of energy)
  • Hallucinations
  • Numbness of your extremities (hands or feet)
  • Seizures

Biotin Warning

If you are ingesting high levels of biotin supplements, this can show up in blood or other body samples and cause either falsely high or falsely low results. Lab tests that may be affected include:

  • Thyroid
  • Hormones
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folate
  • Anemia
  • Heart disease/BNP blood test

Some biotin skin, hair and nail supplements contain megadoses in the 5,000 mcg to 10,000 mcg range. If you are getting labs drawn, then you should stop taking biotin supplements three days before the test.