The Best Vegan Food Sources of Biotin

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Biotin (aka vitamin B7) is an ingredient you’ll see in almost all hair strengthening products (like shampoo).

It’s important for a wide variety of things in the body, but if you’re deficient in it, the most noticable effects are hair loss and rashes on your skin.

Since biotin is found in small amounts in many foods, deficiency isn’t too common.

The problem is that the best sources of biotin are not vegan.

I couldn’t find any research about biotin deficiency in vegans, but I would guess that it’s quite a bit more common.

The annoying part is that biotin is not deemed important enough (tell that to someone losing their hair) to be on the standard nutrition facts label.

I had to dig a little to find actual values of biotin content in foods, and I’ll lay it out as simply as possible for you.

I’ll break down all the best vegan sources of biotin shortly.

Before we start, you need to know how much biotin do you need per day. While there’s no RDA, medical professionals say you should have 30 to 100 micrograms (mcg) of biotin per day.

If you suspect you’re deficient, eat a lot of the foods that are high in biotin for a few weeks, or try a supplement. See my post on the best vegan biotin supplements if you want recommendations.

Keep in mind that hair loss can be caused by other things as well, biotin deficiency is just a common one.

The Top Food Sources of Biotin

The best source of data I could find was this research paper from 2004.

They tested dozens of foods that contain biotin to find specific values.

It’s not a complete list, but is very thorough.

The best categories of foods with biotin (from best to worst in general), are:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Certain Fruits
  • Bread

So there are quite a few vegan sources, but we miss out on the best overall sources. For example, a serving of any common animal liver has several times the daily amount we’re aiming for.

Regardless, let’s dive into the specific vegan foods that have biotin in them.

The Best Vegan Food Sources of Biotin

I’ve divided the foods up into the same categories above for simplicity.

Keep in mind that the researchers did not test every vegan food (far from it). Instead, they tried to test foods that are supposed to have significant amounts of biotin on them.

I’m sure there are some good ones missing, so focus on general trends. For example, nuts have a lot, so I’m sure that there are other nuts not on this list that have a good amount.

Nuts and Seeds With Biotin

Here are the nuts and seeds tested:

Food Serving size (g) Biotin/serving (mcg)
Peanuts 28 4.91
Sunflower seeds 31 2.42
Almonds 30 1.32
Walnuts 30 0.78
Pecans 30 0.6

Okay, peanuts are legumes, but close enough.

For reference, 30 grams of nuts is about a fifth of a cup, or 172 calories. So you’re not getting 100% of your biotin from nuts and seeds, but you can get a portion of it.

Vegetable Sources of Biotin

Some vegetables are the best source of biotin, mainly because they contain few calories.

The best vegetables are mushrooms, sweet potato, broccoli, and leafy greens like spinach:

Food Serving size (g) Biotin/serving (mcg)
Mushrooms 120 2.59
Sweet potato 80 1.16
Broccoli 113 1.07
Spinach 83 0.58
Carrots 29 0.18
Corn 125 0.06
Cauliflower 32 0.05
Green beans 120 0.01

Fruits With Biotin

A decent number of fruits have significant amounts of biotin:

Food Serving size (g) Biotin/serving (mcg)
Strawberries 111 1.67
Orange juice 296 1.22
Avocado 37 0.36
Tomatoes 43 0.3
Raspberries 140 0.25
Raisins 43 0.17
Banana 103 0.14
Apple juice 250 0.13
Orange 258 0.13
Apple 185 0.04

Strangely enough orange juice is high in biotin, while oranges are relatively low (yes I double-checked!).

Grains With Biotin

Grains don’t have much biotin in them, but oatmeal seems like a decent source:

Food Serving size (g) Biotin/serving (mcg)
Grilled Toast 84 1.03
Oatmeal 190 0.36
Noodles 180 0.32
Hamburger bun 58 0.17
Grits 190 0.1
Whole wheat bread 33 0.02

I’m not sure why grilled toast would be so high, while whole wheat bread is so low in biotin. Unfortunately there’s just not much other data out there.

What About Biotin in Legumes?

Legumes are the huge question mark that I had while researching this, where are they?

For some reason, they weren’t included in this study, or any others that I could find really.

Given that peanuts are overall the best vegan food source of biotin, you’d think that other legumes are also good.

One Japanese study found that natto (a product made from soybeans, similar to tempeh) has 13-40 mcg of biotin per gram of natto. Almonds have 44 mcg/g for reference, so about the same amount.

That study also found that there was 2.98 mcg/mL in soy milk, which is incredibly high (~750 mcg per cup), and way higher than cow milk (0.364 mcg/mL).

In summary, I don’t know why legumes (beans, lentils, etc.) have not been studied more (or at all?) for biotin content, but I think the little evidence we have here points to them being an incredibly good source.

Summary and Conclusion

We saw that animal products are generally best in terms of biotin content, but there are still many vegan foods that have a significant amount of biotin.

Unfortunately, there is limited published data on biotin content, so we don’t have a complete picture.

What we can say at this point is:

  • Nuts and seeds are solid sources of biotin.
  • Certain vegetables like mushrooms, potatoes, broccoli, and leafy greens are good sources.
  • Some fruits like strawberries, orange juice, and avocado are decent sources.
  • While we don’t have enough data, legumes are likely a very good source of biotin, particularly soy.

So if you’re seeing some hair loss, try out eating the foods here highest in biotin for a few weeks, or try a supplement if you’d like to make it easier.

If that doesn’t work, go see a doctor, because there is likely something else causing your problems.

If you have any questions or you’ve stumbled upon additional data, please let me know in the comments below.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

2 comments

  • Thanks. I have been trying to find out more info about biotin for vegans diets since chronometer seems to suggest I am extremely deficient. I think it is more likely that there isn’t enough data on biotin in the chronometer database.