Vitamin B2 is a water soluble vitamin. The human body needs a daily dosage of it since it cannot be stored in the body. It plays a major role in energy production and represents an essential nutrient in your diet.
Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, plays a significant role in the production of energy. It helps in the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar, which fuels the body’s many functions. Riboflavin also plays an active part in the electron transport chain that produces cellular energy. Furthermore, it helps in the processing of amino acids and fats. It can also serve as an antioxidant, which slows the pace of aging.
Important Sources of Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2 can be found in various food sources, though usually in negligible quantities. The most important sources of Riboflavin are diary products, brewer’s yeast, dry-roasted soybeans, edamame, and liver. Some of its other sources include oysters, lean meats, mushrooms, broccoli, avocados and salmon.
Oily fish, including mackerel, eel and herring are also rich sources of riboflavin. The list also includes eggs, shellfish, wild rice, dried peas, millet, sunflower seeds and beans to add B2 in your diet. Dark leafy green vegetables, such as asparagus and spinach, whole grain products, and mushrooms are also rich in riboflavin. Cabbage, carrots, apples, figs and berries have a comparatively low level of Vitamin B2. Fortunately, vitamin B2 is not lost during cooking, unlike many other vitamins. However, it is destroyed by strong light and baking soda.
Deficiency Symptoms of Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2 deficiency can hamper 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, a burning sensation of the eyes, parched lips, inflammation in the mouth, and a sore tongue. Some of the other common symptoms include dull or oily hair, premature wrinkles, and split nails. Riboflavin deficiency could result in the improper functioning of adrenal glands, which in turn would result in various conditions such as anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome and cataract development. Riboflavin deficiency is thought to be a major cause for the fatal condition of preeclampsia in pregnant women.
Riboflavin deficiency mainly manifests as skin lesions, especially over the tongue and around the corners of the mouth. If left untreated, it can lead to a swollen tongue, seborrheic dermatitis, and even impaired nerve function. Dandruff, low blood count, chipping of the lips and corners of the mouth, dizziness, hair loss, loss of sleep, poor digestion and slowed mental responses are some of the other symptoms of Vitamin B2 deficiency
Health Benefits of Riboflavin
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.
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.
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.
Boosts Mineral Absorption: It helps in the absorption of minerals such as iron, folic acid and other Vitamins such as B1, B3 and B6.
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.
Remember to have a well balanced diet to ensure the supply of riboflavin, which needs to be replenished daily.