Benefits of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is a water-soluble nutrient. It is one one of the B-complex vitamins, which are critical for helping the body to create energy by metabolizing carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Additionally, vitamin B2 serves a number of other critical roles and has a variety of health benefits.
- Like many of the B vitamins, riboflavin is a necessary nutrient for the normal production, growth, and repair of cells and body tissues. The body uses vitamin B2 to maintain good tissue health, and to accelerate the healing of injuries.
- It is also required to produce red blood cells. Iron and vitamin B2 are the two most essential nutrients needed for the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body.
- Riboflavin also contributes to the healthy functioning of the immune system. It supports and strengthens the immune system by reinforcing the body’s reserve of antibodies. Antibodies are cells which protect our bodies against infection and disease.
- Vitamin B2 also contributes to skin health. It helps to stimulate the production of mucus in the skin. This may help the body to clear up rosacea. It also helps to protect against and heal various skin problems, including dermatitis and eczema.
- Riboflavin is also critical for maintaining healthy eyes and vision. It can also help to prevent cataracts.
- In conjunction with the other B vitamins, vitamin B2 guards and strengthens the nervous system. It is often used as one component for the treatment of a variety of nervous system disorders, like anxiety, numbness, Alzheimer’s disease, seizures, and multiple sclerosis.
Function of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B2, like other water-soluble nutrients, is only stored inside the body in minute quantities. This makes it necessary to take in enough of the vital nutrients each day. It appears as an orange powder. However, solutions containing riboflavin are a fluorescent greenish color.
Just like vitamin B1, vitamin B2 plays an important role in helping the body to convert carbohydrates into sugar. It promotes the initial metabolism of glucose and of fatty acids. The body then uses these simplified sugars (glucose) for energy. Vitamin B2 is integral for cellular oxidation which generates energy from macro-nutrients (protein, carbohydrate and fat). Riboflavin is also necessary to convert vitamin B6 and folic acid into their active forms. It is also used to change tryptophan into vitamin B3 (niacin). Riboflavin plays a role in producing energy as a component of the electron transport chain that creates energy for body cells. A vitamin B2 deficiency can drastically reduce the conversion of macro-nutrients into energy.
Riboflavin is critical for the proper growth and maintenance of healthy body tissues. It is especially important for the development of skin, hair, and connective tissues in the body. Along with vitamins B3 and B6 it acts to protect nervous system function. Vitamin B2 is also needed for the production of antibodies and for healthy immune system function.
The majority of vitamin B2 is ingested in the form of dietary protein. In the stomach, acid separates the riboflavin from the protein. Most vitamin B2 is absorbed in the small intestine. The rate of absorption increase or decreases with how much is ingested. Vitamin B2 must be present in order for energy to be created from food sources. Good dietary sources of vitamin B2 include organ meats, such as liver, plant sources like green, leafy vegetables, and milk. Organ meats are among the foods that contain the highest levels of riboflavin.
Riboflavin toxicity usually isn’t a concern, since, as a B vitamin, vitamin B2 water soluble. Any excess riboflavin is quickly flushed from the body via urine.