Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)


Facts about Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin, or Vitamin B2, was formerly known as Vitamin G until it was correctly assigned to be a member of the Vitamin B group. It is a real energy provider.

We need Vitamin B2 for the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, as well as for DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid) metabolism. It is also required for thyroid enzyme regulation and the production of corticosteroids. Riboflavin helps in the formation of antibodies and red blood cells, and acts as an antioxidant.

This water-soluble Vitamin is not stored to any great degree in our body and needs to be regularly part of our diet. Excess amounts are excreted in the urine, and because of the natural deep-yellow colour of Riboflavin, make our urine bright yellow, which is not harmful.

Although all B Vitamins work in a close relationship, Vitamin B2 appears to work more synergistically with Vitamin B1, B3 and B6.


Benefits of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin helps maintain healthy skin, good vision, and promotes general health. Riboflavin may also reduce the frequency of migraine headaches. Vitamin B1, B2 and B12, have pain-relieving properties that are even more effective when these Vitamins are used in combination.

Possible uses include:

  • anaemia
  • anorexia
  • bulimia
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • depression
  • eye fatigue
  • fatigue
  • HIV support
  • migraine
  • neonatal jaundice
  • thyroid disorders

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Deficiency

A deficiency in Riboflavin affects growth, causing infants and children to be vulnerable during periods of growth spurts. A deficiency in Riboflavin also impairs iron, calcium, and zinc absorption and may cause anaemia, ariboflavinosis, or seorrheic dermatitis. However, individual B Vitamin deficiencies seldom present themself in isolation and are more likely deficiencies of several B Vitamins.

Common causes of a deficiency are diets low in nutritional value, chronic illnesses, medications (eg contraceptive), low milk consumption, lactose intolerance, but also excessive exercising and calorie reduced dieting. Riboflavin absorption may be decreased during fibre intakes.

Deficiency symptoms include:

  • burning and itching of the eyes
  • depression
  • diminished thyroid function
  • dizziness
  • impaired growth
  • skin disorders
  • inflammation and cracking of the skin around the mouth
  • swelling of the tongue
  • visual disturbances

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Toxicity

No toxic levels have been established for Riboflavin. Excess amounts are excreted in the urine, and because of the natural deep-yellow colour of Riboflavin, make our urine bright yellow, which is not harmful. However, very high doses may cause a passing itching, numbness, or tingling sensation.


Foods high in Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

The water-soluble Riboflavin is not stored to any great degree in our body and needs to be a regular part of our diet. Vitamin B2 from animal foods is more easily absorbed than from vegetables. However, overall absorption can increase if Vitamin B2 is consumed in combination with other foods.

Riboflavin is stable to heat and oxidation but can easily be destroyed if exposed to light.

Dietary sources include:

  • asparagus
  • brewer's yeast
  • broccoli
  • eggs
  • fish roe
  • green leafy vegetables
  • legumes
  • milk products
  • mushrooms
  • nuts
  • organ meats
  • spinach
  • sunflower seeds
  • wheat germ
  • whole grains

The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) developed by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies currently state 1.3mg for adult men and 1.1mg for adult women. Australia and New Zealand adapted the same values as their Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs).


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