Good Dietary Sources of Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Vitamin B7 exists in two different forms. Free biotin is generally found in plant-based foods. This type of biotin is easily absorbed and readily used by the body. Protein-bound biotin is more often found in animal-based foods and bacteria. This type of biotin is bonded to protein, and thus, the body must first break this bond in order to use the biotin.
Our bodies can use both of these types of biotin, but because free biotin is more easily used by the body, biotin obtained from plant foods are sometimes considered to be preferable food sources of biotin.
Bacteria which lives in our intestines actually produce small quantities of biotin that can be used by the body. However, in order to get all of the health benefits of vitamin B7, you should ensure that consume a variety of the following foods that contain biotin:
Nuts, Seeds, and Legumes
- A variety of nuts are good sources of biotin, including almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts.
- Legumes, like lentils and soybeans are also foods high in biotin. Green peas are an especially good source, contain high amounts of vitamin B7.
- Seeds, such as sunflower seeds, are another good way to get biotin in your diet.
- Because of the high protein content, all meats will contain some biotin.
- The best meat sources of vitamin B7 are organ meats. Liver is the richest source of biotin. However, kidneys and other organ meats are also very high in biotin.
Fish and seafood
- Fatty, oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna, are rich sources of biotin.
- Clams and oysters are other seafood that contains vitamin B7.
- Many grains are high in biotin. Some of the best grain sources include brown rice, bulgur wheat, barley, oat bran, and oatmeal.
Many vegetables contain a small amount of biotin. Some of the vegetables that contain the most biotin include:
- Sweet Potato
- Dairy is high in biotin, including milk and cheese.
- Egg yolks are also particularly rich sources of biotin.
- Mushrooms are another good way to get a boost of biotin in your diet.
- Most fruits do not contain much biotin. However, bananas are the exception. They contain significant amounts of vitamin B7.
Daily Requirement of Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is a recommendation of how much of each nutrient should be consumed each day for various people. For vitamin B7 (biotin), the RDA is:
- 5 micrograms per day for infants 0-6 months old.
- 6 micrograms per day for infants 7-12 months old.
- 8 micrograms per day for children 1-3 years old.
- 12 micrograms per day children 4-8 years old.
- 20 micrograms per day for children 9-13 years old.
- 25 micrograms per day for males and females 14-18 years old.
- 30 micrograms per day for males and females older than 18.
During pregnancy, the RDA of biotin for women stays at 30 micrograms per day. However, while breastfeeding, the RDA is raised to 35 micrograms per day.
Because vitamin B7 is found in small amounts in so many foods, the rate of biotin deficiency is very low. However, there are certain genetic disorders which can lead to increased risk of having a deficiency. Also, consuming large amounts of raw egg whites can cause a biotin deficiency. Eggs whites contain high amounts of a protein that bonds to biotin, thereby reducing its rate of absorption by the body.
The RDA values are established by the National Academy of Sciences.