WHAT IS VITAMIN B2?
Vitamin B2, also called riboflavin, is one of 8 B vitamins. Riboflavin is a key component of coenzymes involved with the growth of cells, energy production, and the breakdown of fats, steroids, and medications. Most riboflavin is used immediately and not stored in the body, so excess amounts are excreted in the urine. Riboflavin is needed in high amounts to allow other B vitamins to work properly. Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is naturally present in foods, can be added to foods, and is available as a supplement. Bacteria in the gut can produce small amounts of riboflavin, but not enough to meet dietary needs.†
WHERE CAN WE GET RIBOFLAVIN?
†IN OUR FOODS-
Eat a healthy and balanced diet to get enough vitamin B-2. Itís present at the levels most people need in dairy products, including cottage cheese and milk. Riboflavin is also found in meat and fortified foods but also in some nuts and green leafy vegetables.† Here are foods to incorporate: Seaweed in††††††††† 1 cup provides†† 242.0% of your daily Vitamin B2 needs. If you are not a seaweed lover, other foods†
Liver (from beef, lamb, turkey, veal, or chicken)† 3-oz.† has 229.0% of DV, then comes organ meats (from beef or lamb kidneys)†††††††††† 3-oz. piece has 149.0% of the daily value, then comes food more my liking- Almonds1 cup has 57.0% DV, other great sources -Dairy milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Eggs, lean beef and pork, dark meat, chicken, salmon, tuna, soybeans, spinach, grains, fortified cereal and bread. Riboflavin is often a supplement in cereal and bread, and it can be present as food coloring in candy.† A fact you may not know: Ever wonder why you donít usually see milk stored in glass bottles anymore? The reason is due to riboflavin. If the vitamin is exposed to too much light, it can be deactivated from its usable form. That is why milk is now typically sold in cartons or opaque plastic containers to block light. Riboflavin is not destroyed by heat, but 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.
SUPPLEMENTS- Can get Riboflavin alone or as part of B complex. Make sure to purchase a high-quality supplement from real food sources.
Recommended Daily Intake of Riboflavin-
According to the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, the following is the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin B2 daily:
Infants and babies 0 to 6 months: .3 mg
Infants and babies 7 to 12 months: .4 mg
Children 1 to 3 years old: .5 mg
Children 4 to 8 years: .6 mg
Children 9 to 13 years: .9 mg
Males 14-plus years: 1.3 mg
Females 14 to 18 years: 1.0 mg
Females 19-plus years: 1.1 mg
Pregnant females: 1.4 mg
Breastfeeding females: 1.6 mg
Research shows that vitamin B consumption with a meal will significantly increase the absorption of the vitamin. Some sources state that vitamin B2 absorption can increase from 15% to 60% when taking a vitamin B2 supplement, or when the vitamin comes from a food source. Minerals and vitamins, in general, are absorbed better when taken with a meal.-
UL: A Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the maximum daily dose unlikely to cause adverse side effects in the general population. A UL has not been established for riboflavin, because a toxic level has not been observed from food sources or from longer-term intakes of high-dose supplements.† https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/riboflavin-vitamin-b2/
There is not much risk of over-consuming vitamin B2. Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin, and the body is able to excrete any amount of vitamin B2 that is not needed within a few hours. People that frequently consume multi-vitamin supplements with riboflavin may notice a bright yellow color in their urine. This is a normal reaction and is a good indication that the body is absorbing vitamin B2. It is also a sign your body is excreting unneeded vitamin B2, and do not have a problem with riboflavin deficiency. https://www.doctorshealthpress.com/food-and-nutrition-articles/vitamin-b2-deficiency-symptoms-benefits/
I must caution mega dosing of anything. Very high doses may cause: Itching, Numbness, Burning or prickling sensations, yellow or orange urine and Sensitivity to light.
Vitamin B2 and Health
†6 key vitamin B2 health benefits-
1. Maintains proper energy levels
B vitamins are included in all the major energy and adrenal supplements, including vitamin B2. Vitamin B2, in particular, is useful for chronic stress, calming the nervous system, and regulating hormones that help control mood, energy, temperature, and appetite. Riboflavin deficiency can lead to improper digestion of protein, fats, and carbsóthe three major macronutrients that the body uses for fuel.
Vitamin B2 will break down fats, as well as convert proteins into amino acids and carbs into glucose. In other words, riboflavin transforms nutrients from food that the body will use for energy and healthy metabolism.
2. Supports eye health
Research shows that vitamin B2 deficiency increases eye problems. Riboflavin prevents various eye disorders, such as glaucoma, cataracts, and keratoconus. According to John Hopkins- Keratoconus is an eye disease that affects the structure of the cornea, resulting in loss of vision. Riboflavin drops can help treat eye disorders like glaucoma and increase the strength of the cornea when used in combination with light therapy. Check with your health care provider for further information.
3. Prevents and treats anemia
Blood loss, the inability to carry oxygen to the blood, and reduced red cell production are all prominent causes of anemia. Riboflavin is involved in these functions and can help treat and prevent anemia. Low vitamin B2 in the diet can lead to sickle cell anemia and anemia. Riboflavin is also effective for lowering high homocysteine levels in the blood. Anemia occurs when the body is unable to convert homocysteine into amino acids.
4. Fights cancer
Vitamin B2 acts as an antioxidant, which can prevent free radical damage. Riboflavin is needed for the production of the antioxidant glutathione. Glutathione helps detoxify the liver and kills free radicals. Studies have found that riboflavin prevents certain cancers, such as esophageal, cervical, colorectal, and prostate cancer. Vitamin B2 minimizes the effects of oxidative stress and cancer-causing carcinogens. Riboflavin is also needed to help the body change vitamin B6 and folate into forms it can use. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/vitamin-b2-riboflavin
5. Protects skin and hair
Some studies suggest that vitamin B2 can reduce the time needed for wound healing, while also decreasing cracked lips and skin inflammation. Vitamin B2 also helps maintain collagen levels in the skin. Collagen is important for the skin maintaining a youthful structure, and preventing wrinkles and fine lines. Moreover, vitamin B2 deficiency can make people age quicker.
Riboflavin works to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation of nerves, which are contributors to migraine headaches. The vitamin is also needed for normal mitochondrial activities; migraines are sometimes caused by mitochondrial abnormalities in the brain. Riboflavin has been studied as a prophylactic therapy for preventing migraines. Here are some studies that were under care of health care professionals:
A randomized controlled trial of 55 adults with migraines were given either 400 mg daily of riboflavin or a placebo and followed for four months.† Riboflavin was found to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks by two per month compared with the placebo. The authors noted that a beneficial effect of riboflavin did not start until after the first month, and showed maximum benefit after three months of use. https://n.neurology.org/content/50/2/466.short
A systematic review of 11 clinical trials on riboflavin as a prophylactic treatment for migraines found mixed results. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jcpt.12548 The trials with benefit showed a modest reduction in frequency of migraines in adults and children. The dose for adults was typically 400 mg daily, and for children 200 mg daily, given for three months. There were no negative side effects observed from the supplements.
Because some people appear to benefit from the supplements, they are inexpensive, and side effects have been minimal, the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society concluded that riboflavin is probably effective for preventing migraine headaches and approved its use as a complementary treatment. https://n.neurology.org/content/78/17/1346
A riboflavin deficiency is very rare in the United States. Disorders of the thyroid can increase the risk of a deficiency. A riboflavin deficiency most often occurs with other nutrient deficiencies, such as in those who are malnourished. Elderly people and alcoholics may be at risk for riboflavin deficiency because of poor diet. Symptoms of riboflavin deficiency include: Fatigue, slowed growth, Digestive problems, Cracks and sores around the corners of the mouth, Swollen magenta-colored tongue, Eye fatigue, Swelling and soreness of the throat, Sensitivity to light.† Other Symptoms of deficiency may include: Cracked lips, Sore throat, Hair loss, Skin rash, Anemia, Itchy red eyes, Cataracts in severe cases. Having a riboflavin deficiency can lead to other nutritional deficiencies because riboflavin is involved with processing nutrients. The primary concern associated with other deficiencies is anemia, which happens when you donít get enough iron.
Groups at higher risk of deficiency:
Previously stated- the elderly with poor dietary intake and alcoholics.
Vegans/vegetarians due to a lower intake or complete exclusion of dairy and meat products.
Pregnant women, especially in those who consume little dairy or meat.