Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is a water-soluble essential nutrient important in regulating cell growth, proliferation, energy metabolism, and cellular respiration.
In the human body, vitamin B2 is converted into two primary enzymes needed for the synthesis of red blood cells, the production of antibodies by the immune system, and the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
If you do not have enough of this vitamin in your diet, it can lead to vision, skin, nail and hair growth problems, impaired cognitive function, low energy levels or inflammation.
Most people can get enough of this nutrient to avoid deficiencies. However, there may be cases where supplementation with additional sources of vitamin B2 can be beneficial to health.
This supplement was used as a prophylactic measure to prevent migraine headaches. It is also used as a supplement for aging, promoting detoxification, reducing homocysteine levels and maintaining visual health.
This article will discuss how vitamin B2 works in the body, common uses, health benefits, disadvantages, sources of food and supplements, safety and side effects, and possible interactions.
Vitamin B2 - What Is It?
Vitamin B2 is a group B complex vitamin commonly found in dietary supplements like riboflavin. Food supplements may also contain sodium salts of riboflavin 5′-phosphate.
Many plants and animals can produce this important trace element endogenously, but not humans. Vitamin B2 is important for humans, which means we need to get it from foods or dietary supplements.
Like others Group B vitamin complex members, riboflavin is used in the production of the main body fuel, adenosine triphosphate (ATP). It is also important to facilitate healthy adrenal function and maintain nervous system function.
In the human body, it is found primarily as a component of flavocoenzymes, such as the flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and flavin mononucleotide (FMN) of the coenzyme.
These coenzymes are then used in flavoproteins, which have many functions in the body.
Vitamin B2 is required for proper cell function and growth and for the activation of other nutrients, especially the complex of other B vitamins.
Data from new clinical trials suggest that riboflavin supplementation has antioxidant effects. It has been shown to inhibit free radical cell damage and can help eliminate this damage.
Vitamin B2 is thought to play an important role in protecting the eyes from oxidative stress. Damage to free radicals can cause corneal damage, resulting in cataracts.
Cataracts are eye disorders in which the lens becomes gradually opaque or cold. This often leads to visual impairment and blindness in all cases.
How Does Vitamin B2 Work In The Human Body?
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM), riboflavin is commonly found in the body as a coenzyme, which means that it is needed by protein-based enzymes.
The main role of vitamin B2 is to produce two cofactors required for the normal functioning of many different enzymes. These two cofactors are flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and flavin mononucleotide (FMN).
FAD and FMN are used in many enzymatic reactions of flavoproteins. They act as electron carriers in redox (oxidation-reduction) reactions involved in energy metabolism.
These enzymes are particularly important in redox chemistry, which involves the oxidation of fatty acids.
According to dr. Josh Axo, vitamin B2 is important because it:
- Contributes to ATP metabolism, maintains energy levels
- Helps cells grow and function
- Helps maintain eye and skin health
- Helps maintain healthy blood cells
- Reduces free radical damage
Dr. Axas notes that riboflavin acts synergistically with other B-complex vitamins. For example, this vitamin is important for pathways involving vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (folate), and vitamin B3 (niacin).
Dr. Axas says this vitamin should be sourced mainly from organic food sources or from the ingredients in a high-quality multivitamin product that also contains other B-family members.
UMM states that B vitamins are very important for human health. They play an important role in heart, skin, eye, blood and nerve health.
Group B vitamin complex supplements are used to maintain hormonal balance, metabolism, and digestive health.
All B vitamins are water soluble and insoluble in fat. This means that they are not stored in fat cells and do not form solutions with lipid molecules in the body.
Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D, the human body cannot store these molecules for future use. Only vitamin B12 a large amount of the body is stored.
Everyone else Group B complex vitamins must be taken regularly to maintain adequate intake. Dr. Axas argues that consuming fresh, vitamin B2-containing foods on a daily basis can help ensure proper availability and facilitate its various physiological roles.
Additional Benefits of Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2 supplements are designed to promote higher energy levels, athleticism, stress relief, and mood balance. However, more research is needed to identify additional B2 effects.
Vitamin B2 is needed by the body to break down foods into proper forms of energy and produce ATP. For this reason, it is sometimes used as an energy-boosting product.
However, it is not known whether intake of this vitamin can increase energy levels in people who are already consuming enough of this vitamin to avoid deficiencies.
Riboflavin also affects thyroid function and adrenal function. This reduces fatigue and promotes physical productivity.
B2 is important for hormonal balance. Too little of this vitamin in the diet increases the risk of thyroid dysfunction / disease. However, it is not known whether increasing intake will increase thyroid hormone levels or increase metabolism.
Dr. Ax says riboflavin is "beneficial in calming the nervous system, fighting chronic stress, and regulating hormones that control appetite, energy, mood, temperature, and so on."
These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA. More research is needed to determine whether these vitamins are being used for these purposes or not.
Vitamin B2 In Food Sources
According to dr. Axo, some of the best foods to increase your vitamin B2 content are brewer's yeast, green leafy vegetables, raw milk and cheese, eggs, liver, kidneys, almonds, legumes and mushrooms.
Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are also good sources of riboflavin. There are many other foods that also contain this vitamin.
It is commonly found in foods as flavin mononucleotide (riboflavin-5'-phosphate) and flavin adenine dinucleotide. Only 10% of foods are in other forms such as free riboflavin, glycosides and esters.
The following are some good food sources with the appropriate amount in milligrams per serving:
- Beef, chicken, lamb, veal and turkey liver: 3,9 mg / 100 g.
- Seaweed: 2,5 mg / 1 cup
- Kidney of beef and lamb: 2,5 mg / 100 g.
- Molluscs and cuttlefish: 1,5 mg / 100 g.
- Organic feta cheese: 1,3 mg / l per cup
- Almonds: 1 mg / 1 cup
- Grass and beef: 0,87 mg / 100 g.
- Mackerel: 0,49 mg / 100 g.
- 1 large egg: 0,26 mg
It does not reduce the amount of riboflavin in the cooking process (baking, cooking), but it is destroyed by exposure to sunlight.
Dr. Ax recommends protecting these foods from any light source. He also argues that it is better to cook or roast foods.
Vitamin B2 Food Supplements
If possible, it is recommended to get vitamin B2 from fresh organic fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy sources.
However, for some people this is not possible and in such cases it may be beneficial to use high quality additives.
There are many different supplements that contain riboflavin either as a single ingredient or in combination with other vitamins and minerals. It is usually included in the B-vitamin complex. It is available in tablets and capsules.
The most commonly used single-dose riboflavin supplements are between 25, 50 and 100 mg.
Do your research when buying and compare different riboflavin supplements. Look for reliable manufacturers who produce high quality products.
Note that supplementation with individual B complex vitamins is generally not recommended. This can cause an imbalance with other B vitamins.
It is recommended to balance the intake of all B complex members as they are known to work together.
Be sure to protect your vitamin B2 supplements from light to maintain their effectiveness.
Recommendations for Vitamin B2 Dosage
The Food and Nutrition Council of the Medical Institute has set the following recommended amounts of vitamin B2:
- 0,3 milligrams daily for infants 0 to 6 months of age
- 0,4 mg daily for infants 7 to 12 months
- 0,5 mg daily for children from 1 to 3 years
- For children 4 to 8 years of age 0,6 mg daily
- 9 mg daily for children 13 to 0,9 years of age
- 1,3 mg daily for men 14 years of age and older
- For women from 14 to 18 years - 1,0 mg per day
- 1,1 mg daily for women over 18 years of age
Doses usually range from 25 to 100 mg per day with food.
In cancer prevention studies, riboflavin 80 mg was used for up to 20 months. Other studies were performed at 5 mg daily for up to 9 years.
For various migraine studies, 200-400 mg of vitamin B2 was given daily for up to three months. In some studies, a much lower dose of 25 mg a day was given for headaches.
The best dose for you should be discussed with your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.
Vitamin B2 Side Effects And Interactions
Riboflavin has been granted "safe" (GRAS) status by the FDA. The NMCD rated vitamin B2 supplements as likely to be safe when taken orally and appropriately.
The NMCD also rates this vitamin as likely to be safe for pregnant and lactating women at the RFID level. It is rated potentially safe when taken orally.
The daily dose of riboflavin is not taken per day (UL). According to the NMCD, high-dose administration has limited potential for harm due to poor intestinal absorption of this vitamin and high rate of excretion.
Vitamin B2 is generally very well tolerated as a dietary supplement. High doses can cause diarrhea or turn urine orange.
Some drugs with which vitamin B2 may interact include anticholinergic drugs, phenobarbital, probenecid, and tetracyclic antibiotics.
Some medications that can affect vitamin B2 status include antibiotics, torazine (chlorpromazine), Rubex (doxorubicin), and oral contraceptives.
Bright psillium, boron, iron and folic acid can also affect the body’s uptake of vitamin B2.
If you want to use a specific health goal, talk to your doctor about vitamin B2 supplementation. Talk to your doctor before taking this supplement if you are taking prescription medications and / or have any medical conditions.