Holistic Health – Nutrients A to Z: Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Vitamin B2 is also referred to as riboflavin. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is flushed out of the body daily, so it must be restored each day. The best way to get this vitamin is by eating foods that are rich in riboflavin such as eggs, nuts, dairy products, meats, broccoli, brewer’s yeast, brussel sprouts, wheat germ, wild rice, mushrooms, soybeans, green leafy vegetables and whole grain and enriched cereals and bread.  

Riboflavin is a vitamin that is needed for overall good health. It helps the body break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats to produce energy, and it allows oxygen to be used by the body.

Riboflavin is also used for the development and function of the skin, lining of the digestive tract, blood cells and other vital organs. It is important for eye health. This vitamin is needed to protect the important antioxidant, glutathione, therefore, eating a diet rich in riboflavin can lower the risk of developing cataracts. Taking supplements containing riboflavin and niacin may also be helpful in preventing cataracts. 

Riboflavin is important for how the body processes iron. Without it, research shows that the body is more likely to develop anemia. 

Those suffering from migraines may find that taking doses of B2 may help. A study found that those taking high doses of riboflavin had significantly fewer migraines. 

Riboflavin deficiency is extremely rare in the North America.  In addition to inadequate intake, causes of Vitamin B2 orriboflavin deficiency can include endocrine abnormalities (such as thyroid hormone insufficiency).

Signs and Symptoms of a Vitamin B2 or riboflavin deficiency

The signs and symptoms of riboflavin deficiency (also known as ariboflavinosis) include skin disorders, hyperemia (excess blood) and edema of the mouth and throat, angular stomatitis (lesions at the corners of the mouth), cheilosis (swollen, cracked lips), hair loss, reproductive problems, sore throat, itchy and red eyes, and degeneration of the liver and nervous system.

People with riboflavin deficiency typically have deficiencies of other nutrients, so some of these signs and symptoms might reflect these other deficiencies. Severe riboflavin deficiency can impair the metabolism of other nutrients, especially other B vitamins, through diminished levels of flavin coenzymes. Anemia and cataracts can develop if riboflavin deficiency is severe and prolonged.

The earlier changes associated with riboflavin deficiency are easily reversed. However, riboflavin supplements rarely reverse later anatomical changes (such as formation of cataracts).

I hope that this information was helpful and remember a healthier you is a more productive you.

by Janice Buckler

Janice Buckler, BSc, RHN is the owner of Natural Legends Nutritional Consulting and a Registered Holistic Nutritional Consultant™ professional using BioScan MSA (meridian stress assessment) Technology which can help detect many illnesses and so natural remedies can be set up that works for “you”.

To learn more about Holistic Heath and BioScan MSA Technology for to my website at natural-legends.com or follow me on Twitter @JaniceBuckler