If you are losing hair faster than normal, you might be one of those rare individuals who suffer from a deficiency of biotin. This is easily remedied, however, by eating foods that are naturally rich in this B vitamin.
Also known as vitamin B7, biotin supports the healthy growth of hair, skin, and nails. It is taken as a health supplement by people suffering from hair loss, especially if they were deficient in the vitamin to begin with.
The good news is that biotin deficiencies are far from common. Most people can get enough vitamin B7 from their typical diet to keep their hair in good health.
Still, the amount of biotin recommended for an individual rises as that person grows older. The minimum daily dose for the typical adult should be 30 micrograms, while lactating women will need 35 micrograms each day to ensure they and their babies get enough of the nutrient. (Related: Vitamin B7 (biotin) is essential for hair, skin and nails – and also supports metabolism, gut health, immunity and more.)
Nuts, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy veggies are rich in biotin
Vegetarians have a number of food options if they want to increase their biotin levels through natural means. Dark leafy vegetables, nuts, onions, and sweet potatoes contain good amounts of the vitamin.
Eating a handful of almonds, peanuts, or sunflower seeds can meet half the recommended daily intake of vitamin B7. The aforementioned edible seeds are not even the richest nut-based source of the vitamin, but they are certainly some of the tastiest ones for snacking purposes.
Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin B7. A cup of the edible tuber contains up to six micrograms of biotin. In addition to having way more biotin than ordinary taters, sweet potatoes are also a healthier source of carbohydrates.
While all vegetables have biotin, dark leafy greens contain slightly greater amounts of the nutrient, making them much better sources of the vitamin. Broccoli and spinach contain some of the highest levels. Other good candidates are kale and lettuce.
These vegetables should be eaten fresh and with minimal preparation. Boiled spinach, for example, will retain most of its nutrient content.
Last but not least is onion. In addition to having lots of biotin on its own, it makes animal liver easier to consume.
Eat animal liver, cooked egg, fish, and dairy products as well
Arguably the best source of biotin is animal liver. Beef and chicken liver are the most potent sources; eating three ounces of beef liver provides you with enough biotin for the day.
If you cannot stomach the taste of liver, try increasing the number of eggs you eat each day. A single egg can have up to 10 micrograms of biotin, so eating three each day will serve the same purpose as the beef liver.
However, you have to cook the egg first. Do not eat raw eggs as a protein drink. Raw egg contains avidin, a protein that disables biotin, thereby making your biotin deficiency worse.
Certain fish are an even healthier source of biotin. A serving of salmon provides as much as five micrograms of vitamin B7, while a similar amount of tuna gives one microgram. Furthermore, both fish have lots of omega-3 fatty acids that keep the scalp moist and strengthen hair.
Finally, dairy products can increase the biotin levels in the body. A serving of mild cheddar cheese, a cup of two-percent milk, and yogurt can therefore help prevent hair loss from biotin deficiency.