Biotin (vitamin B7 or vitamin H) is a water-soluble vitamin. It is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. These nutrients are broken down and converted into their usable forms (such as energy) with the help of biotin. Biotin plays a role in the activation of enzymes involved in metabolic processes.
In addition to its metabolic functions, biotin also plays a role in supporting the nervous system. It is involved in the production of neurotransmitters, which are important for communication between nerve cells.
Biotin is also known for its positive effects on the health of skin, hair, and nails. It is involved in the formation of keratin, a structural protein responsible for strengthening hair, nails, and the outer layer of the skin. However, hair loss, brittle nails, or skin problems can have various causes. Biotin deficiency is only one possible cause. There is limited scientific evidence for the effectiveness of biotin in these specific conditions. Other factors such as genetic predisposition, hormonal changes, dietary habits, stress, and certain medical conditions can also play a role.
In addition, biotin is also utilized for the production and function of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting infections and diseases in the body.
Since the body cannot produce biotin on its own, it must be obtained through diet. The table above shows vegan biotin-rich foods.
Who Has Higher Requirements?
A healthy gut is crucial for optimal nutrient absorption. Sufficient fiber intake, probiotic foods such as fermented foods, and regular exercise can contribute to promoting a healthy gut flora, which in turn can improve biotin absorption. Certain groups may have higher biotin requirements than others. The list reveals some of these groups, among others:
- During pregnancy and breastfeeding, the demand for various nutrients, including biotin, increases. Biotin plays an important role in the development of the embryo and fetus.
- Certain digestive disorders, such as inflammatory bowel diseases or malabsorption syndromes, can impair the absorption of nutrients, including biotin.
- Some medications can affect biotin absorption or metabolism. For example, certain anticonvulsants used to treat epilepsy can reduce biotin availability in the body.
- In older age, nutrient intake and utilization in the body may decrease. Older individuals may have a higher biotin requirement to compensate for age-related changes and potential deficiencies.
- Excessive alcohol consumption can impair nutrient absorption and utilization in the body. Alcohol can negatively affect biotin absorption and lower biotin levels in the body. Accordingly, individuals may benefit from increased intake of biotin-rich foods.
- Since biotin plays a role in energy metabolism and protein synthesis, which are important for muscle regeneration and growth, physical activities and regular exercise can accelerate metabolism and therefore increase the demand. To support physical performance, athletes should look for biotin-rich foods.
With a good vegan diet, the biotin requirement can be met, although many sources of vitamin B7 are of animal origin. There are numerous plant-based foods that naturally contain biotin:
- Nuts and seeds are extremely rich in biotin. Especially hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds are excellent sources. They can be eaten as snacks or added to meals. Nuts and seeds also contain healthy fats and other nutrients that are beneficial for health. You can find more biotin-rich nuts and seeds in the table.
- Legumes are excellent plant-based sources of biotin. By incorporating beans, peanuts, lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, green lentils, white beans, and red lentils into your diet, you can meet your biotin needs and benefit from the health advantages of these foods. They are also rich in fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients. Soy products like tofu, tempeh, and edamame are also high in plant-based protein and biotin. They can be used as meat substitutes in various dishes. Other examples of biotin-rich soy products include soy milk, soy yogurt, soy meat substitutes, and fermented soy products like miso and natto.
- Pseudocereals and whole grains can also be considered important sources of biotin. Some examples, according to the table, are oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, barley, rye, and spelt. By replacing refined grain products with whole grain alternatives, the biotin content in the diet can be increased.
- Dark green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and zucchini are particularly rich in biotin. Additional examples of biotin-rich vegetables according to the table are cauliflower, chard, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and eggplants.
- Some fruits that have higher biotin content include avocados, bananas, berries (such as raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries), apples, and pears. Use this table if you're looking for more fruits with biotin.
The biotin content of foods can be reduced by excessive cooking or heating. To minimize biotin loss, foods should be prepared gently or consumed raw if possible.
Ideally, you should prepare your meals yourself. That way, you have full control over the ingredients and can consciously incorporate biotin-rich foods into your recipes. The following list contains recipe ideas with biotin-containing foods:
- Avocado Banana Smoothie: Blend an avocado, a banana, spinach, and almond milk to make a nutrient-rich smoothie.
- Quinoa Salad: Prepare a salad with cooked quinoa, vegetables, and a lemon vinaigrette.
- Oatmeal Pancakes: Combine oats, bananas, and oat milk to make delicious pancake batter.
- Lentil Soup: Cook lentils with vegetable broth, carrots, and celery to make a hearty soup.
- Tofu Scramble: Sauté tofu with vegetables and spices to prepare a vegan scrambled egg alternative.
- Spinach Salad with Almonds: Combine fresh spinach, toasted almonds, dried cranberries, and balsamic dressing.
- Chia Seed Pudding: Mix chia seeds with plant-based milk and let them soak overnight in the refrigerator. Serve with berries and nuts.
- Broccoli Pasta Bake: Cook whole wheat noodles and mix them with blanched broccoli and vegan cheese substitute. Bake in the oven until the cheese melts.
- Beet Hummus: Blend cooked beets, chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini to make a creamy hummus.
- Veggie Curry: Cook a colorful mix of vegetables with coconut milk and spices to make a flavorful curry.
- Pea and Mint Soup: Cook peas with vegetable broth, onions, and fresh mint to make a refreshing soup.
- Vegan Banana Nut Muffins: Prepare muffins with whole wheat flour, ripe bananas, chopped nuts, and a pinch of cinnamon.