Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin, member of the family of B-vitamins. It helps to convert food into energy by working with enzymes to turn fats, proteins and carbohydrates into a form the cells can use. Vitamin B2 deficiency is common as the vitamin can be easily destroyed with sunlight; For example, a pint of milk left on the doorstep can lose part of its riboflavin within a couple of hours.

Riboflavin promotes a healthy growth and reproductive functions; it also helps with the normal development of the foetus during early pregnancy. Vitamin B2 is needed to form hair, skin, nails, and for a good vision. Riboflavin also has antioxidant qualities and boosts the immune system by helping to form antibodies, blood proteins that seek out and destroy foreign substances. A lack of riboflavin can stop Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) from working.

Food sources of Vitamin B2

● Dairy and milk products

● Yeast extract

● Whole grains

● Eggs

● Fortified breakfast cereals

● Wild rice

● Mushroom

● Green leafy vegetables

One large bowl of fortified breakfast cereals with skimmed milk can provide around 50% of the RDA of riboflavin. As a water soluble vitamin, B2 dissolves in cooking liquids but is not destroyed by heat. However, riboflavin get destroyed by sunlight or UV light so it’s important to store foods away from sunlight or in a cupboard to avoid the destruction of some of the vitamin content within foods.

Associated Deficiency Symptoms of Riboflavin:

● Itchy eyes, sensitive to bright lights

● Eczema

● Mouth ulcers, cold sores

● Cracked lips

● Hair loss

How Effective Is Vitamin B2 For Good Health?

Eye Health: Vitamin B2 helps protect against cataracts, benefits vision and eases eye strain.

Concentration and alertness: individuals with a good intake of vitamin B2 are more likely to perform well in tests that measure mental functioning.

Female health: riboflavin helps convert vitamin B6 into its active form and is usually included in supplements designed to relieve premenstrual syndrome or menopausal disorders.

Cracked, sore lips: vitamin B2 reduces inflammation of the tongue and lips, and mouth sores.

Picture adapted from Suwannasom et al., 2020

Supplements

Multivitamin tablets usually contain around 1.6 mg of vitamin B2 which is sufficient to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid deficiency. Slightly higher amounts are needed during pregnancy, breastfeeding and during times of stress (including anxiety, overwork, disease and post surgery). High levels of up to 50 mg can be taken and even higher doses may be prescribed for conditions such as migraine.

Women taking oral contraceptives, those who exercise regularly, diabetics, vegans, older people and heavy drinkers may need to increase their daily intake of riboflavin.

Please note the information provided here should not take place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (doctor, pharmacist, etc.) about your interest in and questions about what may be best for your overall health.

Precautions

Vitamin B2 is non toxic but excess can results in bright yellow green urine. People prone to cataracts should not take more than 10 mg of riboflavin daily.

According to NHS England, adults men (18 to 64 years old) needs 1.3 mg of riboflavin per day and the amount needed for adult women is 1.1 mg. You should be able to get all the vitamin B2 you need from your daily diet by eating a varied and balanced diet.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7037471/

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/77/6/1352/4689829

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3952759/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK525977/

https://www.egginfo.co.uk/egg-nutrition-and-health/egg-nutrition-information/vitamins-and-minerals

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Disclaimer: This blog provides information that should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (doctor, pharmacist, etc.) about your interest in and questions about what may be best for your overall health.

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