Biotin is an essential nutrient for preventing hair loss, brittle nails and fatigue or depression, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Deficiency is unlikely if you are a healthy individual eating a balanced diet. Biotin itself is not known to cause harmful side effects, but you may experience health problems for other reasons if you eat too much of high-biotin foods.
Weight gain results when you eat more calories than you expend, and it is a risk that you take when you eat too much of any kind of food. High-calorie foods are more likely to lead to weight gain, and the most concentrated sources of biotin include high-calorie foods such as full-fat cheddar cheese and avocados. Biotin is also in yeast breads, which are top sources of calories in the typical American diet, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Full-fat cheese and meats, such as pork and liver, are good sources of biotin, but they are sources of saturated fat. Saturated fat raises levels of cholesterol in your blood and may lead to an increased risk for heart disease, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Meat, poultry and fish are also sources of dietary cholesterol, which raises your cholesterol levels. Egg whites are fat-free and cholesterol-free, but the biotin in eggs is in the yolk. Egg yolks can raise your cholesterol because of their saturated fat and cholesterol.
Some sources of biotin are high in compounds called oxalates, which can increase your risk for developing calcium oxalate kidney stones, according to the University of Pittsburgh. Whole wheat bread, nuts, beans and raspberries are good sources of biotin, as well as other essential nutrients such as dietary fiber and potassium, but they are high in oxalates. Lower-oxalate sources of biotin include cauliflower, salmon, pork, liver and avocados. Kidney stones can be painful and eventually lead to kidney disease.
If you have kidney disease, too much phosphorus in your diet can eventually lead to weaker bones, according to the Mayo Clinic. Liver and hard cheese, such as cheddar cheese, are high in biotin as well as phosphorus. A yeast-free diet may help individuals with yeast syndrome, or an overgrowth of the Candida albicans fungus, according to the Mayo Clinic. This diet excludes some sources of biotin, such as cheese, yeast and products made with yeast, such as bread.
- Linus Pauling Institute; Biotin; Victoria Drake; August 2008
- Mayo Clinic; Candida Cleanse: Does it Treat Candidiasis?; Brent Bauer; September 2009
- Mayo Clinic; Low-Phosphorus Diet: Best for Kidney Disease?; Erik Castle; August 2010
- University of Maryland; Vitamin H (Biotin); Steven Ehrlich; June 2009
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: Low Oxalate Diet
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010