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 as per NIH. It helps in the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar, which fuels many functions in the body. 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 Riboflavin
Vitamin B2 can be found in various food sources, though usually in negligible quantities. Some of the good sources of riboflavin are
- Dairy products
- Brewer’s yeast
- Dry-roasted soybeans
- Fish & animal products: Liver, eggs, oysters, shellfish, lean meats, salmon, and oily fish – mackerel, eel, and herring
- Vegetables and fruits: Mushrooms, beans, broccoli, avocados, dried peas, and dark leafy green vegetables, such as asparagus and spinach
- Seeds & grains: whole grains, wild rice, millet, sunflower seeds
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 Riboflavin
Vitamin B2 deficiency can hamper the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, as these elements would require vitamin B2 for complete metabolism. The deficiency symptoms of vitamin B2 include bloodshot eyes, high sensitivity to light, a burning sensation in the eyes, parched lips, inflammation in the mouth, and a sore tongue. 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 an 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 slow 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. Its major health benefits are given below:
Riboflavin plays a major role in the production of energy by assisting in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Increases Blood Circulation
Vitamin B2 is essential for the formation of fresh red blood cells and antibodies in humans, which increases circulation and oxygenation to various organs of the body.
Promotes Growth & Development
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.
Regulates Thyroid Activity
Vitamin B2 can regulate thyroid activity.
Riboflavin helps to improve the mucus secretion of the skin and might clean up the skin pustules that are common with acne.
Protects the Nervous System
Vitamin B2 may help in providing relief from symptoms of various nervous system conditions such as numbness and anxiety among others. It is thought that riboflavin, when used along with vitamin B6, is effective for treating the painful symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
Essential for Normal Growth
Riboflavin is associated with the formulation of proteins, making it essential for the normal growth of the body.
Vitamin B2 plays a major role in ensuring healthy corneas and perfect vision.
Boosts Mineral Absorption
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 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.
Boosts Immune System
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.