What is it?
Vitamin B2 is a water soluble nutrient. It’s measured in mg (milligrams) and is part of the vitamin B complex. It has a key role in maintaining health in humans and animals.
Vitamin B2 is an essential part of the enzymes involved with energy production in the body and, like the other B vitamins, it is involved with the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Vitamin B2 is also needed to regenerate certain vital compounds in the body, such as glutathione – the body’s primary detoxification substance. Vitamin B2 is also needed for the body’s manufacture of amino acids and fatty acids, and cells cannot grow or develop without this nutrient.
|Function||How it helps|
|Eye Health||Vitamin B2 is required for the regeneration of glutathione from its oxidised state. Glutathione is an antioxidant that helps protect eye tissue from free radical damage which otherwise might trigger cataract formation. Lack of vitamin B2 can trigger symptoms such as itchy, red, tired and/or light-sensitive eyes. Deficiencies are also associated with an increased risk of developing cataracts.|
|Migraine Therapy||Research suggests that vitamin B2 supplementation may be useful in reducing the severity of migraine headache attacks.|
Best food sources
|leafy green vegetables||liver||kidneys|
|legumes||yeast||whole grains and cereals|
A deficiency of riboflavin can be primary – poor vitamin sources in one’s daily diet – or secondary, which may be a result of conditions that affect absorption in the intestine, the body not being able to use the vitamin, or an increase in the excretion of the vitamin from the body.
|Eczema and skin disorders||inflammation of the lining of mouth and tongue||mouth ulcers|
|cracks at the corners of the mouth||bloodshot, watery, itchy eyes||increased sensitivity to light|
|lack of concentration||poor memory||depression|
Riboflavin is continuously excreted in the urine of healthy individuals, making deficiency relatively common when dietary intake is insufficient. However, riboflavin deficiency is always accompanied by deficiency of other vitamins.
|Factors which deplete levels, impair absorption and/or inhibit activity:|
|Anti-malarial drugs||Diuretics||Excessive carbohydrate intake|
Riboflavin is not toxic when taken orally, as its low solubility keeps it from being absorbed in dangerous amounts from the gut and any excess will be excreted in the urine.
Vitamin B2 is most commonly taken in combination with other B-group vitamins as part of a B-complex.
Vitamin B2 is available as a single nutrient and is often used for mouth ulcers and eye problems.
Alcoholics and those with absorption problems may need extra Vitamin B2.
This nutrient also works with Vitamins B1, B3 and B6.
Vitamin B2 is generally regarded as safe and can be taken at high levels without any harmful side effects.
Vitamin B2 does cause the urine to become bright yellow-green which is normal and completely harmless. It is actually a sign that the vitamin has been broken down and absorbed by the body.
Vitamin B2 is often used as a food colouring.
When this article was written there were no well-known negative drug interactions with vitamin B2.