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Biotin, otherwise known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, is one of the eight B group vitamins. Biotin is important for helping your body use energy from food and for making the building blocks of protein. Biotin is especially important during pregnancy as it is needed for normal embryonic growth. As biotin is water soluble, your body cannot store this vitamin so it is important to include plenty of biotin containing foods in your daily diet.



Biotin is found in small amounts in a wide range of foods. Good sources include:

  • Liver,
  • Egg yolks,
  • Peanuts,
  • Yeast,
  • Milk,
  • Vegetables such as cauliflower and mushrooms, 
  • Fruits such as banana, grapefruit, watermelon, strawberries and tomatoes.


Bacteria in your intestine can also make biotin.



The amount of biotin that is likely to be adequate depends on your age and gender. You may need more biotin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. The Adequate Intake (AI) below reflects the amount estimated to be adequate for most people.



AI (mg/day)                                                                                                 

0-6 months 5
7-12 months 6
1-3 years 8
4-8 years 12
9-13 years 20
Boys (14-18 years) 30
Girls (14-18 years) 25
Men (>19 years) 30
Women (>19 years) 25



Biotin deficiency is rare as it is only needed in small amounts and is found in a wide range of foods. However, you may be at risk of deficiency if you:

  • Consume raw egg whites over long periods of time as they contain a protein that inhibits biotin absorption,
  • Have received nutrition through an intravenous tube for a long period of time, or
  • Suffer from a gastrointestinal condition such as Crohn’s disease which makes it harder for your body to absorb nutrients.


Symptoms of deficiency may include:

  • Hair loss,
  • A dry scaly rash around the eyes, nose and mouth,
  • Cracking in the corners of the mouth,
  • Cracked sore tongue,
  • Nervous system symptoms such as depression, hallucinations and tingling of the arms and legs.



There are no known side effects of having a high intake of biotin.



The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.



Better Health Channel


Medline Plus Medical Encyclopaedia:


National Health and Medical Research Council


University of Maryland Medical Centre

Stewart R., Griffith Handbook of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics (2nd edition)