Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is a vital vitamin that conjointly acts as an antioxidant within the body. vitamin B2 is responsible for maintaining healthy blood cells, helping to boost energy levels, facilitating during a healthy metabolism, preventing free radical damage, contributing to growth, protecting skin and eye health, and even more.
Because it’s a water soluble vitamin like all B vitamins, vitamin B2 should be obtained through a healthy diet and replenished often, ideally on a daily basis, in order to avoid a vitamin B2 deficiency. All B vitamins are accustomed to facilitate digestion and extract energy from the foods you eat; they do this by converting nutrients from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into useable energy within the form of “ATP”. For this reason, vitamin B2 is required for the functioning of each single cell within your body, and a vitamin B2 deficiency or lack of B vitamins in your diet will create a number of serious side effects.
Vitamin B2 is used in combination with other B vitamins that form the “B vitamin Complex”. If truth be told B2 must be present in high enough amounts within the body to permit other B vitamins as well as B6 and folic acid to properly do their jobs. All B vitamins help in the vital functions of the body including strengthening nerve and heart, helps keep skin and eye healthy, reduces inflammation, regulates hormonal function, and maintain a healthy digestive system and metabolism.
Vitamin B2 deficiency —
Vitamin B2 deficiency affects the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, as these elements would require vitamin B2 for its complete metabolism.
Some of the deficiency symptoms of vitamin B2 include —
- Bloodshot eyes,
- High sensitivity to light,
- Burning sensation of the eyes,
- Parched lips,
- Inflammation in the mouth,
- Sore tongue
- Dull or oily hair,
- Premature wrinkles
- Split nails
- Pre-eclampsia in pregnant women
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Cataract development
- Low blood count,
- Chipping of the lips and corners of the mouth,
- Hair loss,
- Poor digestion and
- Slowed mental responses etc.,
Health Benefits of Vitamin B2 —
Riboflavin is a well absorbed water soluble vitamin, which has a key role to play in maintaining overall human health. Some of its major health benefits are given below:
- Helps in Energy Production: Riboflavin plays a major role in the production of energy by assisting in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
- Helps in RBC production: Vitamin B2 is essential for the formation of fresh red blood cells and antibodies in humans, which increases circulation and oxygenation to various organ systems of the body.
- Regulates Growth and Reproduction: Riboflavin is very important for ensuring proper growth and development of the reproductive organs, and the growth of body tissues such as the skin, connective tissue, eyes, mucous membranes, nervous system and the immune system. In addition, it also ensures healthy skin, nails and hair growth.
- Regulates Thyroid Activity: Vitamin B2 can regulate thyroid activity.
- Prevents Disease Conditions: Vitamin B2 can help to prevent many common conditions like migraine, headaches, cataracts, acne, dermatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and eczema.
- Prevents Acne: Riboflavin helps to improve the mucus secretion of the skin and might clean up the skin pustules that are so common with acne.
- Protects the Nervous System: Vitamin B2 can help in treating various nervous system conditions such as numbness, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, anxiety and epilepsy, among others. It is thought that riboflavin, when used along with vitamin B6, is effective for treating the painful symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Essential for Normal Growth: Riboflavin is associated with the formulation of proteins, making it essential for normal growth of the body.
- Ensures Healthy Eyes: Vitamin B2 plays a major role in ensuring healthy corneas and perfect vision.
- Helps to Slow HIV/AIDS: Studies have shown that riboflavin can slow down the progression of the AIDS virus.
- Boosts Mineral Absorption: It helps in the absorption of minerals such as iron, folic acid and other Vitamins such as B1, B3 and B6.
- Helps Repair Tissues: Riboflavin plays an important role in the repair of tissues, the healing of wounds and other injuries that can take a long time to fully recover.
- Protects the Digestive Tract: It plays a major role in maintaining and protecting the mucous membranes in the digestive system.
- Healthy Fetal Development: Although there is no concrete proof to substantiate the claims that Vitamin B2 is essential for the healthy progression of pregnancy, it is regarded as an essential ingredient of a future mother’s diet, along with Vitamin A.
- Increases Immunity: Riboflavin also helps to enhance natural immunity by strengthening the antibody reserves and by reinforcing the defense system against infections.
Best Sources of Vitamin B2 —
- Sesame seeds
- Green Peas
- Sweet potato
Riboflavin is destroyed by light. So food should be stored away from light to protect its riboflavin content. While riboflavin is not destroyed by heat, it can be lost in water when foods are boiled or soaked. Roasting and steaming foods preserves more riboflavin than frying or scalding your foods.
Daily recommendations for dietary riboflavin are as follows —
• Infants, birth to 6 months: 0.3 mg (adequate intake)
• Infants, 7 to 12 months: 0.4 mg (adequate intake)
• Children, 1 to 3 years: 0.5 mg (RDA)
• Children, 4 to 8 years: 0.6 mg (RDA)
• Children, 9 to 13 years: 0.9 mg (RDA)
• Boys, 14 to 18 years: 1.3 mg (RDA)
• Girls, 14 to 18 years: 1 mg (RDA)
• Men, 19 years and older: 1.3 mg (RDA)
• Women, 19 years and older: 1.1 mg (RDA)
• Pregnant women: 1.4 mg (RDA)
• Breastfeeding women: 1.6 mg (RDA)
I’m Dr. Malini Bhat MD (Ayu); an Ayurvedic Doctor and a health blogger. Follow me on social media to get daily health tips which you can easily adapt to a healthy lifestyle.