Riboflavin - Vitamin B2

Apr 12, 2022

By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist at Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

Last week's topic was on Co-Enzyme Q10 a power coenzyme and antioxidant used by the body for physiological "processes" which give you energy and life. This week the focus is on one of eight B vitamins which are essential for our health. B vitamins, in general, are essential for maintaining our mucous membranes, maintaining a healthy liver, keeping the eyes and nerves healthy. Also, they are likely the most crucial vitamin for proper fetal development. Riboflavin known as vitamin B2. Vitamin B2 is contained in vegetables, grains, and dairy.

When you consume food, there are some complex bio-chemical processes help to convert it into energy for your cells. Riboflavin is crucial for breaking down food components, allowing them to be absorbed and then it assists in maintain your tissues, such as muscle and organs. It more detail, it is crucial component for converting carbohydrates to ATP, which is a necessary fuel for energy production in the body. Studies also confirm riboflavin (B2) has an antioxidant nature. The vitamin can protect the body against oxidative stress and oxidative injury.

All vitamins are either water soluble or fat soluble. The B vitamins are water soluble, meaning they dissolve in water, are carried in the blood stream, and excreted in the urine. Water soluble vitamins can usually be supplemented easily and quickly, however intake of the vitamin must be consistent as it gets excreted just as fast. Vitamin B2 must be consumed daily because the body cannot really store it and your supplies will decrease rapidly if it is not in your diet. Also cooking foods often causes water soluble vitamins to be lost. Interestingly boiling foods like vegetables or meat may cause about twice as vitamin B loss compared to microwaving or steaming.

The recommended daily allowance is about 1100ug for females and 1300ug for males. Pregnant women should increase the amount to about 1500ug per day and even higher when breastfeeding.

A B2 deficiency is a risk with poor diet because we are consistently excreting it. Likely if you are low in B2 you are low in other B vitamins and other water-soluble vitamins as well. Low B2 could also be caused by the intestines inability to absorb it properly. Those who drink excessive amount of alcohol may also have a deficiency. Symptoms of a deficiency can cause dry skin and cracked lips, as well as mouth ulcers or dry inflamed tongue, lips, and lining of the mouth. Interestingly, the eyes might be sensitive to bright light, or they may be itchy, watery or blood shot.

In the supplement form you can purchase vitamin B2 on its own in 100mg or in a B50 or B100 complex. Usually, these products have 50mg and 100mg respectively. This is well over the daily recommended intake, however not all of it will be absorbed. Overdose or toxicity of B2 is unlikely, however you never want to take more than the recommended amount listed on the bottle or prescribed by a health care provider. B2 can interfere with a small number of prescription medications so ensure you check with your pharmacist if you plan to take it with other medications.

Riboflavin helps break down mainly for carbohydrates, but also fats and protein. It is instrumental in maintaining the body's energy supply and helps in the process which stores energy in the muscles. Its antioxidant effects and its value for treating or preventing specific diseases still needs a lot of research. However, like Co-Enzyme Q10, there is some belief B2 might help to prevent migraine headaches and it may even delay cataract formation. Its deficiency is likely contributing to an array of other health issues related to the proper functioning of mitochondria, our cell's tiny but crucial engines.

Number one is eating a healthy balanced diet, however if you are interested in selecting a supplement, ask your pharmacist first.

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional.


Read more Health Articles

Unite Interactive