Biotin refers to a B-complex vitamin which is soluble in water. This vitamin is abundantly found in the living cells, and it is required for cellular metabolism. It is also known as coenzyme R, vitamin H, and vitamin B7. Some people also refer biotin as vitamin B8 though this name is not official. All living things including single-celled organisms, animals, and plants use biotin. It plays a key role in metabolizing proteins in animals.
It is also responsible for the conversion of sugar into glucose. Biotin is necessary for the production of hormone and maintaining a healthy blood sugar level in human beings. Biotin promotes healthy skin, hair, and nails. Mammals do not produce biotin. Instead, they obtain biotin from dietary sources. Deficiency of this compound is rare, but it can be very dangerous. It is essential for the normal development of a foetus and birth defects might occur during pregnancy due to its deficiency.
Symptoms associated with deficiency of biotin
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Muscle pain
Biotin exists as either protein or free-bound forms. Protein-bound is mainly found in animal and bacteria cells whereas the free biotin is found in plants. The human body utilizes both forms of biotin. The body easily absorbs free biotin, but the protein-bound protein is first converted into a usable form. The high content of free biotin in plants makes them a better source of this vitamin as compared to the foods obtained from animal products.
Protein-bound biotin sources
Most foods contain biotin but in negligible amounts. However, there is certain food which has a high concentration of biotin. These foods include the following:
- Organic meats- liver and kidneys
- Milk- All the dairy products
Eggs have high biotin content, but they have other chemicals which hinder the absorption of biotin in the body. A diet containing eggs might, therefore, lead to a deficiency of biotin.
Plant-based biotin foods
The free biotin found in plants is more bio-available as compared to the plant’s one. Plant- based diet is, therefore, the healthiest choice. These are some of the plants which contain high amounts of biotin. Nuts the concentration of biotin varies in different types of nuts. For instance, 100g of pecan contains 28 micrograms of biotin whereas the same amount of peanuts contains 37mcg. Nuts provide a great source of omega fatty acids, energy and heart-healthy nutrients.
This is another source of biotin. A hundred gram (100g) of fresh peas contains 40 mcg of biotin, but this level increases to 70 mcg once it is dried. Additionally, legumes are also rich in folic acid which is used to enhance digestion.
Cauliflower is a vegetable which is helpful in detoxifying the liver. It is loaded with different types of healthy vitamins including biotin. It also contains high content of vitamin C as well as other compounds which promote good health.