Biotin, originally known as vitamin H, is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin, meaning your body cannot synthetize it, and thus needs to replenish it frequently from different sources, namely foods and dietary supplements.
Biotin supplements are often recommended to strengthen both dry and soft brittle nails and hair and treat skin infections.
Several sources of evidence have shown that biotin increases both the growth and thickness of nails and reduces nail fragility.
Now, it is true that bacterial biotin can be found in your large intestine endogenously thanks to uptake from the intestinal flora. But since your body does not store it, you need to get sufficient amounts of this vitamin from other natural sources.
This article reviews 8 biotin-rich foods you should eat for sturdier nails.
- Organ Meats
Organ meats, also called offal —like kidney, heart, tripe and liver— are an excellent source of biotin. For example, 3-ounces of cooked beef liver provides you with 30.8 micrograms of biotin, which is equal to the recommended DV for adults.
They are highly nutritious and packed with a plethora of micro and macronutrients, most notably protein, vitamins A and B12, zinc and iron. Given that zinc and iron deficiencies are often associated with white nail spots and brittle nails, eating organ meats is quite important for healthier nails.
If you are pregnant, then make sure to consume organ meats with moderation, because they are rich in vitamin A. Excessive intakes of vitamin A can cause birth defects.
- Egg Yolk
Egg yolk is a widely known natural source of biotin. It is loaded with nutrients and proposes various health benefits. These include enhancing brain health, decreasing inflammation, reducing the risk of eye disease and promoting satiety.
When it comes to promoting healthier nails, egg yolk is a biotin-rich food with 4.08 micrograms of biotin per one cooked egg yolk (15 grams) consumed. Although its biotin supplementation is affected by cooking and heat, it is best to eat cooked egg yolk to avoid the risk of contamination.
Keep in mind that egg yolk is high in cholesterol, but this does not mean it raises cholesterol levels in your blood.
- Roasted Nuts
Nuts and seeds are healthy snacks and good sources of biotin, although the amount fluctuates widely.
For example, 28 grams of roasted peanuts contain 4.91 micrograms of biotin, while one 30 grams serving of roasted almonds provides you with 1.32 micrograms of biotin only.
Also, roasted nuts contain several beneficial nutrients, including selenium, which also supports healthy nails by preventing cell damage in conjunction with protein enzymes.
Fresh cauliflower is another reliable source of biotin vitamin, with one serving (32 grams) of cauliflower containing roughly 1 microgram.
They are also high in nutrients and a great source of antioxidants and choline. The latter has been shown to exert favorable effects on brittle nails and hair.
Try grating raw cauliflower and adding them to a salad mix with brown rice and boiled mung beans. You can get creative and add a garlic clove as it helps strengthen your nails and promotes their growth.
Biotin is also present in mushrooms. 120 grams of canned mushrooms provide you with 2.59 micrograms of this vitamin. It helps fight nail fungus and protect your nails from infections.
They are also a source of certain essential nutrients, most notably selenium, and exert a preventive effect on stomach ulcers and other favorable effects on your immune defense system, nerve regeneration and reduces the risk associated with cardiovascular disease.
To get the maximum nutritional benefit from mushrooms, rinse a few pieces and let them dry to brown properly. Then, you can saute them in butter or lard and make sure not to crowd them in the saute pan.
- Sweet Potatoes
Cooked sweet potatoes are a good vegetable source of biotin. One 80 grams serving contains approximately 1.16 micrograms of biotin. The icing on the cake is the beta-carotene content in sweet potatoes, which is highly beneficial for your skin and mucus membranes.
Boiled spinach is a fair source of biotin. One frozen spinach (83 grams) contains 0.58 micrograms of biotin. Moreover, it is rich in vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, which strengthen the surface of your nails and helps treat brittle nails and peeling nails.
- Cheese and Other Dairy Products
Cheese, milk, plain yogurt and other dairy products contain a substantial amount of biotin. For example, one 236 ml cup of low-fat chocolate milk contains 0.90 micrograms of this vitamin. Mild cheddar cheese and American milk are also biotin-rich with 0.40 and 0.59 micrograms of biotin supplementation respectively.