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B2 – Riboflavin

What is Riboflavin?

Riboflavin, also called Vitamin B2, is a vitamin that is an essential and easily absorbed vitamin needed for proper energy metabolism and a wide array of animal and human cellular processes. It gets its name from its color. The root word of riboflavin is derived from the Latin word “flavus” which means “yellow”.

What does Riboflavin (B2) do?

Riboflavin assists in energy production and facilitates the antioxidant fight by ridding the body of free radicals. The reason why this vitamin is so beneficial is because it helps reduce the free radicals that cause damage to cells and may add to the process of aging. Not only that, but it may reduce the onset and progression of several other health problems, like cancer and heart disease.

Riboflavin is required to assist the body in changing other B vitamins into useful forms. It is crucial for the production of red blood cells and the body’s growth. Doctors have prescribed Riboflavin to be useful for migraines and cervical cancer prevention. It is also prescribed for the treatment of blood disorders, acne, muscle cramps, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Some patients even use riboflavin for conditions of the eye including; glaucoma, cataracts, and eye fatigue.

Other uses for the nutrient riboflavin include but are not limited to; boosting the immune system; increasing the levels of energy; slowing aging; maintaining the health of the skin, nails, and hair; encouraging the health and function of the reproductive system; increasing performance athletically; canker sores; ulcers; memory loss, like that of dementia and Alzheimer’s; alcoholism; liver disease; burns; the treatment of a condition called: lactic acidosis as a result of being treated with an AIDS medication; and sickle cell anemia.

Where is Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) found?

The best sources of riboflavin include almonds, brewer’s yeast, whole grains, organ meats, wild rice, wheat germ, mushrooms, milk, soybeans, yogurt, venison, eggs, broccoli, asparagus, summer squash, chard, greens, Brussels sprouts, spinach, and green beans. Some cereals and flours are often riboflavin fortified.

What happens when someone is deficient in Riboflavin (B2)?

Though being deficient in Riboflavin may be difficult to spot, after repeated tests and studies, doctors have found that many of the early stages of a riboflavin deficiency involve eye and skin-related problems. The eye-related problems include tearing, extreme light sensitivity, loss of clear vision, and itching and burning around and in the eyes. The skin-related problems show indications of soreness around the mouth, lips, tongue, and cracking, painful skin at the mouth’s corners. The peeling of skin around scrotum in men, or around the nose, may also signify that there is a lack of vitamin B2.

People who are healthy and have a well-balanced diet needn’t worry about a deficiency because they consume it on a daily basis via the foods they eat. However, people who are alcoholics and the elderly are more subject to becoming deficient of the vitamin because of a poor diet. Other signs of being deficient of riboflavin include digestive problems, fatigue, as well as slowed growth.

Helpful food sources, supplements and additional benefits of Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Everyday drinks and foods we consume like; energy drinks, coffee, liver and beef, as well as many others are loaded in Riboflavin. Vitamin B2 is one of the many nutrients that are important for normal vision. Some early evidence shows that riboflavin may even assist in the prevention of cataracts. And it has been suggested that by taking Riboflavin, people who get migraines may reduce how often they get them and how long they last.

A good rule to remember is: Riboflavin is damaged by light, so all food is best when put away from the light to maintain the riboflavin within. Even though riboflavin is not ruined by heat, it may be diminished in the water if food is soaked or boiled. While cooking; steaming and roasting conserve more riboflavin than scalding or frying. Besides food, Riboflavin is generally included in multivitamins and B-complex vitamins, and comes separately in tablets.

 

AIs (Adequate Intakes)

Infants
0-6 months
7-12 months
Milligrams per Day
0.3
0.4

RDAs (Recommended Dietary Allowances)

If taking a B2 supplement, make sure that the B6 amount is nearly the same.

Children
1-3 years
4-8 years
Milligrams per Day
0.5
0.6
Males
9-13 years
14-18 years
19-30 years
31-50 years
50-70 years
> 70 years

0.9
1.3
1.3
1.3
1.3
1.3
Females
9-13 years
14-18 years
19-30 years
31-50 years
50-70 years
> 70 years

0.9
1.0
1.1
1.1
1.1
1.1
Pregnancy
< 19 years
19-30 years
31-50 years

1.4
1.4
1.4
Lactation
< 19 years
19-30 years
31-50 years

1.6
1.6
1.6

Source: USDA Dietary Reference Intakes