How much do you know about vitamin B2?5 years ago | Vitamin B2
By pH health care professionals
The most famous B vitamin, it seems, is B12 – a popular choice for vitamin injections for people looking for an extra energy boost. But have you heard about vitamin B2? It is also called riboflavin and is one of the eight important B vitamins.
Whys is vitamin B2 important?
All B vitamins help your body convert food into fuel for energy. Vitamin B2 is important for growth, red blood cell production, proper eyesight and healthy neurological function. It may affect how your body absorbs and uses iron. It helps your body convert vitamin B6 and folate into usable forms.
Vitamin B2 also works as an antioxidant, which means it helps to fight free radicals. Free radicals can damage your cells and DNA, and may contribute to the aging process as well as a number of diseases including heart disease and cancer.
What if you don’t have enough B2?
Vitamin B2 deficiency may contribute to anemia, fatigue, slowed growth, digestive issues, cracks and sores around the corners of your mouth, swollen tongue, eye fatigue and sensitivity to light, and swelling and soreness in your throat.
If you have these symptoms, you may want to get your vitamin B2 levels tested.
What foods have vitamin B2?
Here are a few examples of foods that have vitamin B2:
- Milk and dairy products (note: clear containers expose milk to light, which may reduce riboflavin)
- Meats and fish
- Beef liver
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Dark green vegetables
Who might need to increase their vitamin B2 intake?
If your doctor finds you have low levels of vitamin B2 with a blood test, you may need to increase your intake through foods or high-quality supplementation. Some people who may need to be proactive and monitor their vitamin B2 status include:
- People whose diet lacks dairy products and meat. If you do eat meat and dairy products, these foods make up a significant portion of your vitamin B2 intake. People who live in areas of the world without access to these types of foods, as well as vegans, may be more at risk for vitamin B2 deficiency.
- People who get migraines. Some research has suggested that taking riboflavin may reduce how often and how long people get migraines. One study, for example, showed that taking 400 mg of vitamin B2 a day cut the number of migraine attacks in half.
- Pregnant women. Pregnant women may need to monitor for nutritional deficiencies, such as iron deficiency anemia with co-occurring vitamin B2 deficiency.
- Advanced ages. People of advanced age with lower vitamin B2 may be at an increased risk for bone fractures.
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