Sources of Vitamin H

Vitamin H is biotin or vitamin B-7. Biotin helps convert your food to energy and is needed for healthy hair and nails. According to the Institute of Medicine, the adequate intake for biotin is 30 micrograms for adults aged 19 and older. Biotin is present in many different food sources, and the bacteria in your gut makes some biotin as well.

A plate with hard-boiled eggs and toast. (Image: budgaugh/iStock/Getty Images)

The Biotin Content in Foods Varies

Researchers of a study published in the "Journal of Food Composition and Analysis" in 2004 used a scientific method to specify the biotin content in 87 foods. They then compared their numbers to biotin numbers in published resources. The published biotin content numbers varied from the biotin amounts researchers found. They stated this is possibly due to varying growing conditions, analytical problems, biotin availability -- as some is protein-bound in foods, biotin content of animal feeds and fertilizers, processing and several other factors. They concluded that meat, egg, dairy, fish and some vegetables are relatively high in biotin. They also found other plant foods to be relatively good sources of biotin.

Animal Food Sources

Liver is possibly the food highest in biotin with 27 to 35 micrograms in 3 ounces -- that is 90 to 117 percent of the adequate intake for biotin. One large cooked egg has 13 to 25 grams of biotin -- most is contained in the cooked yolk. Cheddar cheese is another fairly good source of biotin with up to 4 grams in 1 ounce. Pork has 2 to 4 micrograms. If you are concerned about high cholesterol -- as liver, egg yolk, cheese and pork are sources of dietary cholesterol -- have 3 ounces of salmon to get 4 to 5 micrograms of biotin, or add plant sources of biotin to your diet.

Plant Food Sources of Biotin

Researchers of the 2004 study found that some whole grains such as oatmeal, although very nutritious as a food source for many other nutrients, may not have as much biotin as previous publications claimed. However, they found whole-wheat bread is a good source of biotin with up to 6 micrograms -- 20 percent of the adequate intake -- of biotin in 1 slice. Other plant foods containing a significant amount of biotin include avocados, with 2 to 6 micrograms in one avocado; raspberries, with up to 2 micrograms in 1 cup; and cauliflower, with up to 4 micrograms in 1 cup. Bananas, mushrooms, almonds, peanuts, pecans and walnuts also contain biotin in varying amounts.

Your Intestinal Bacteria Can Make Biotin

Biotin is water-soluble, which means your body does not store it although it is needed to metabolize your food into energy. The bacteria in your intestine can make some biotin, but little is known about how much of this biotin your body actually absorbs. Long-term use of antibiotics or eating raw egg whites can cause biotin deficiency. Long-term use of antibiotics can kill too much of your gut bacteria needed to produce biotin, and raw egg whites have a chemical that binds to biotin, decreasing your absorption of it.

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