Did You Know?
Many genes influence B vitamins requirement. Changes in these genes can put you at high risk for B vitamin deficiencies. Learn more with the Gene Nutrition Report:
What Is Vitamin B2?
Vitamin B2, also called riboflavin, is one of the eight vitamins in the vitamin B complex.
It is a nutrient that plays a vital role in maintaining our bodily functions.
For example, vitamin B2 helps the body make new RBCs or red blood cells.
It also helps digest protein, carbohydrates, and fats in the body.
RDA Of Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2 is a water-soluble vitamin.
It is excreted out of the body through urine.
So, it is important to meet your vitamin B2 requirements.
Adult men can take up to 1.3 mg of vitamin B2 daily.
Adult women can take up to 1.1 mg of vitamin B2 daily.
Pregnant and lactating women are advised to take 1.4 mg of vitamin B2 daily.
Since excess vitamin B2 is excreted through urine, it usually does not result in an overdose.
However, always make sure to consult your doctor before taking any supplement.
Food Sources Of Vitamin B2
Instead of taking supplements, you might also consider eating these foods to get vitamin B2:
- Dairy products: Milk, butter, cheese, etc.
- Unpolished grains and cereals
- Organ meats
- Fatty fishes such as salmon
- Broccoli and spinach
7 Important Vitamin B2 Health Benefits
Vitamin B2 plays several important roles in supporting human health:
B2 is crucial for breaking down (metabolizing) the macros, that is, proteins, carbs, and fats, from the food we eat.
Vitamin B2 supports the absorption of other B vitamins in the body by converting them to a suitable form.
Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is said to improve vision and reduce the risk of several conditions of the eye, including cataracts and glaucoma.
Skin and Hair Health
Vitamin B2 supports skin and hair health by reducing visible signs of aging, reducing acne, and promoting strong hair and nails.
Studies suggest that a B2 deficiency can slow down wound healing. Further supplementation of this vitamin can promote faster healing.
By reducing oxidative stress and nerve inflammation, vitamin B2 helps alleviate migraines.
Riboflavin supports the activity of several enzymes that are crucial for metabolism. A deficiency of B2 can increase the risk for many health conditions, including heart disease and cancer.
Vitamin B2 Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms, and Risk Factors
Causes of Vitamin B2 Deficiency
- Not consuming enough meat and dairy products: Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of vitamin B2 deficiency.
People who cut down on meat, fortified foods, and dairy are at an increased risk of riboflavin deficiency.
- Frequent and chronic diarrhea: Vitamin B2 is not stored in the body.
Excess of it is eliminated from the body through urine or stool.
When a person has frequent diarrhea, large amounts of riboflavin are eliminated from the body.
This makes the person prone to deficiency of vitamin B2.
- Alcoholism: Vitamin B2 deficiency is very common in chronic alcoholics.
Alcohol promotes improper absorption of vitamin B2 in the body, thus causing its deficiency.
- Haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis: Dialysis is a procedure done when the kidney fails to filter out blood toxins.
Dialysis very often filters out water-soluble vitamins such as riboflavin from the body.
Common Symptoms of Vitamin B2 Deficiency
- Cheilosis: It is a common skin condition.
In this condition, your lips and mouth are filled with cracked sores.
It is a painful condition that can indicate a vitamin B2 deficiency.
- Dermatitis: It includes skin inflammation.
Your eyes, ears, nasolabial folds, and scrotum, or labia majora, become red, scaly, and greasy.
This could indicate a riboflavin deficiency in the body.
Risk Factors for Vitamin B2 Deficiency
- Vegans: Veganism excludes the consumption of any animal products.
Vegans don’t consume milk or eggs.
If any dietary supplement is not added, they might face vitamin B2 deficiency.
- Pregnant women: The body already requires much higher levels of nutrients when pregnant.
It is crucial both for maternal and child health.
For example, pregnant women who consume little milk or meat are at risk of developing vitamin B2 deficiency.
- People on certain medications: Some drugs might make it difficult for the body to absorb riboflavin.
Antidepressants and anti-psychotics might lower vitamin B2 levels in the body.
Some cancer medications might also lower vitamin B2 absorption by the body.
- People who suffer from digestive problems such as celiac disease
Health Conditions Associated With Vitamin B2 Deficiency
Riboflavin deficiency can cause several health conditions, such as:
- Sores, lesions, and ulcers of the mouth.
- Swollen and cracked lips
- Edema of the skin and excessive hair loss
- Sore throat
- Itchy eyes
In case of severe riboflavin deficiency, it can cause cataracts and anemia.
Riboflavin deficiency can also cause degeneration of the nervous system.
In addition, normal metabolism will be affected in case of vitamin B2 deficiency.
How To Ensure You Are Getting Enough Vitamin B2
Most people can get the required dose of vitamin B2 from a healthy balanced diet.
Consider including fatty fish and eggs in your diet.
If you are a vegetarian, replace these with soybeans.
Organ meats such as liver and kidney are also high in riboflavin.
Vegans can consume tempeh or tofu for vitamin B2.
Make sure to include dairy products and nuts in your daily diet.
Vitamin B2 is an essential nutrient for the body.
It plays a vital role in the metabolism and digestion of other macro-nutrients.
Vitamin B2 can cause disorders such as anemia, cataracts, and mouth ulcers.
This vitamin is found in dairy products, nuts, specific fruits and vegetables, and cereals.
Including all these in a properly balanced diet will ensure you get your required vitamin B2.