Vegan biotin sources? Doesn’t biotin only came from animal products?
Are supplements required for healthy hair?
If these are questions you have been asking, don’t miss this post! It’s even written by a plant based Dietitian (so you know it’ll be a good read 😉 )
Disclaimer: This article is not providing personal medical or dietary advice. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your health, before adding a supplement, or making major dietary changes. See our Disclaimers for more details.
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Table of Contents
Why The Buzz About Biotin?
Biotin (otherwise known as vitamin B7) plays a huge role in metabolism! It helps break down of the fats, proteins, and carbohydrates we consume.
Why is buzz around biotin associated with hair and nail health?
Well, as we already mentioned, biotin plays a role in breaking down protein (a building block of all cells). But did you know biotin is associated with keratin production?
Yep! Who else has heard about keratin when it comes to healthy hair? Biotin helps make this protein found in hair, skin and nails.
Healthy, non lactating adults (19 years and older) need about 30 micrograms (mcg) of biotin per day per the Adequate Intake (AI) dietary reference.
If you have a biotin deficiency, you may develop brittle nails, a rash on your skin, and/or even lose some hair.
So don’t skimp on this vitamin. But don’t go overboard either (I’ll go over this in more depth later, so stay with me)!
But what about those on a vegan diet (one that avoids all animal products)? Should they be concerned? Lets talk about that next…
Are Vegans More Likely To Have a Biotin Deficiency?
I could not find any current research suggesting that vegans have a greater risk of biotin deficiency compared to other diets. Still, I was also hard pressed to much find research on this topic!
Here is a bit about what I found…
One study compared biotin status in vegans to lacto ovo vegetarians (those who include dairy and eggs but no meat) and mixed diets. The results suggested that vegans did not have impaired biotin status comparatively.
However (and a big however), the study categorized the vegan diet group as consuming no meat, and dairy product less than once per month. This begs questions like: did these “vegans” eat eggs? FYI: eggs are not a vegan friendly food!
Furthermore, the lacto ovo vegetarian group had the features of consuming dairy products at a minimum of twice per week, and meat less than once per month.
Also, this study included urinary excretion of biotin (total avidin binding substances) to measure biotin status. This measure may not be the most reliable indicator of biotin status according to some more recent research.
Bottom line: We need more research on vegans and biotin status. But, some research suggests that frank biotin deficiency is likely rare, (though again- we need more research on biotin and vegans specifically).
One thing we can say… Biotin is not exclusive to animal products- another win for ethical vegans!
What are biotin rich vegan foods? I’m so glad you asked! Lets discuss that very subject next.
Biotin Sources: Vegan Friendly List
A Few Notes About this List: The following is not a list of all vegan sources of biotin. The biotin content listed below was taken from the study: “Determination of the biotin content of select foods using accurate and sensitive HPLC/avidin binding” (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1450323/) unless otherwise noted and hyperlinked to a different source/study.
Now that we got that out of the way, it’s time to get into the the (vegan veggie) meat of the article (see what I did there? 😉 )!
The humble legume (yes, you read that right!) may contain almost 5 mcg of biotin per 28 g (gram) serving of roasted and salted peanuts.
That’s a whopping nearly 17% the biotin AI (Adequate Intake dietary reference) for non lactating adults, making peanuts a stand out star amongst several other whole vegan foods.
Nuts and Seeds (Especially Sunflower Seeds and Almonds)
Trail mix anyone? Your snack could pack a decent dose of biotin in addition to the important fatty acids they contain!
A 31 gram serving (a bit over an ounce) of salted roasted sunflower seeds contains about 2.4 mcg of biotin!
Roasted and salted almonds contain a bit under that at approximately 1.32 mcg per 30 gram serving.
Mushrooms are actually packed with variety of certain B vitamins, including: (drum roll please) biotin!
Canned mushroom clock in about 2.59 mcg of biotin per 120 gram serving. Not bad for a fun-gi (get it? 😉 )!
Do you say po-ta-toe or po-tot-o? Either way, a mere 80 gram serving of cooked sweet potato contains about 1.16 mcg of biotin.
Sweet potatoes are also unique in that they are a good source of provitaimin A. This is a otherwise known as a precursor to vitamin A – a nutrient vegans should be mindful of including in their eating pattern (find out why in our article here).
Sure, most of us are probably aware they have vitamin C, but did you know strawberries also contain biotin? 111 grams of strawberries provides about 1.67 mcg of biotin.
Not that you needed another excuse for eating strawberries, eh?
This cruciferous vegetable also contains a decent amount of biotin! A 113 gram serving of fresh broccoli contains about 1.07 mcg of biotin.
Just to clarify, we are not talking about bakers yeast! (the kind you use to make bread).
Informally known as “nooch” nutritional yeast can contain a hefty dose of biotin.
Lets take a look at one label. One serving of Sari Foods nutritional yeast (two heaping tablespoons) contains 16 mcg of biotin. That’s a bit over 50% the AI for non lactating adults!
I use their nutritional yeast on vegan foods, like popcorn, and tofu. In my opinion, it adds a slightly “cheesey” flavor!
You can check it out here: (below is an affiliate link*-as a reminder, this means if you purchase via this link, I may earn a commission at no added cost to you):
Do Vegans Need To Supplement Biotin?
Whether or not you need a supplement is a conversation to have with your doctor!
If you read our list of biotin rich food for vegans, you probably guessed that it is possible to meet the AI for biotin as a vegan.
Biotin supplements in itself is not always be the answer to lack of hair growth as deficiency is rare.
As suggested by the NIH factsheet on biotin, currently there is not enough evidence to suggest that biotin supplements will improve hair, skin or nails for everyone. Furthermore, too much may interfere with certain lab test results.
If you are experiencing hair loss or other symptoms associated with biotin deficiency, reach out to your healthcare provider.
Also, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, drink lots of alcohol or have a rare biotinidase deficiency, you may be at a greater risk for biotin inadequacy, or, your body may need more biotin. Talk to your doctor about supplementation.
Summing It Up: Vegan Biotin Sources
There are many vegan friendly foods that provide biotin.
Biotin content will vary. Some higher biotin sources vegans can appreciate include soybeans, nuts, seeds, and some nutritional yeast.
While it is possible to meet the AI (Adequate Intake dietary reference) from food, talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or are at risk for biotin inadequacy.
If you are prescribed a biotin supplement, remember that biotin might interfere with certain lab test results. So ask your health care provider about what you should do prior to lab draws.
Did you learn something new about food sources biotin can be found in? Are there any other questions you still have? Let us know in the comments below!
And while you’re here, why not explore the blog? We discuss topics like Vegan Iodine Sources as well as Vitamin B12 Foods for Vegans Ideas.
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may the fork be with you!