Riboflavin is the scientific name for a vitamin and dietary supplement commonly known as Vitamin B2. Doctors may prescribe riboflavin in higher doses to help treat migraines and cancer in certain cases.
Riboflavin plays an important role in helping the body to break down the nutrients in food. It helps the body convert complex carbohydrates, fats, and protein into forms that the body can use.
Riboflavin also helps maintain your adrenal gland, which responds to stress and helps maintain proper functioning of the nervous system.
Red meat, beef, or lamb meat – all these are wonderful sources of this vitamin. Meat and meat products give you enough vitamin B2 to meet about 12% of the RDA. Try to include kidneys and livers in your diet to meet your riboflavin requirement.
Almonds are a great source of vitamin B2 with 28 grams of this healthy nut giving 0.28 mg of Riboflavin, which is about 17% of the RDA. An ounce each of cashews, pine nuts, and pistachios meets 4% of the RDA riboflavin requirement.
3. Green Leafy Vegetables:
Green leafy vegetable such as spinach, fenugreek leaves, asparagus, drumstick leaves, and beet greens are excellent sources of vitamin B2. While ½ a cup of spinach yields 0.21 mg riboflavin, beet greens give your 24% of RDA requirement.
Milk not only provides calcium to keep the bones healthy but is a good source of vitamin B2 too. 100 ml of milk provides 0.18 mg of vitamin B2, which makes up about 10.5% of the daily requirement of this essential vitamin.
Cheese is a tasty and healthy way of replenishing the body with vitamin B2. 100 gm of cheese provide about 1.38 mg of Riboflavin, which is enough to make up 81% of the amount you need everyday.
Eating mushrooms boosts vitamin B2 reserves in the body. 100 gm of mushrooms give you about 0.49 mg of vitamin B2, satiating 29% of its daily requirement.
Eat eggs-scrambled, boiled or in curry form. Eggs are not only a power house of proteins but are also abundant in vitamin B2. You can reap 0.51 milligrams of riboflavin from 100 grams of eggs to satisfy 30% of the RDA requirement.
Oily fish such as Mackerel, Rohu, Surmai, and Katla are rich sources of vitamin B2. While 85 gm of Mackerel gives you about 0.49 mg of this vitamin, smoked salmon and wild salmon meet 27% and 24% of RDA recommended daily values respectively.
9. Soya Beans:
Soya is known as one of the healthiest foods which can be consumed by both vegetarians and non vegetarians alike. A great source of protein for vegetarians and vegans, soya beans are naturally blessed with a good quantity of vitamin B2. Include 100 gm of soy beans in your diet to reap 0.18 mg of this vitamin.
In addition to being a good source of a number of essential vitamins and antioxidants, broccoli is also a warehouse of vitamin B2. If you are watching your weight, you can safely consume broccoli. While 100 gm of these green veggies give 0.117 mg of riboflavin, meeting just 10% of the recommended daily value of this vitamin, it is still a healthier choice when compared to other calorie dense sources.
Benefits of B vitamins
1. Vitamin B2 is a Mild Anti-inflammatory
Riboflavin significantly reduces the expression of HMGB1 (high-mobility group protein B1), which is one of the factors responsible for inflammation in systemic inflammatory response syndrome (sepsis) in mice.
Under various circumstances, it shows anti-inflammatory properties.
2. Vitamin B2 Helps Prevent Cognitive Decline
Riboflavin is associated with improved cognitive test scores in primary school children in rural Kenya. Higher intake of B2 is associated with better abstract performance.
Riboflavin is a safe and well-tolerated option for treating migraines in adults.
Treatment reduced the number of times migraines occur.
Riboflavin treatment in a 16-year-old boy with L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria (LHGuria), a rare neurometabolic disorder improved his cognitive function.
3. Vitamin B2 Consumption Reduces Depression
In many depressed subjects, there was a concurrent Riboflavin deficiency.
In elderly, depressed patients, B vitamins (B1, B2, and B6) improved depression.
In a Japanese cross-sectional study, increased intake of Riboflavin meant decreased symptoms of depression in girls but not for boys.
Consumption of Riboflavin prevents depression after childbirth.
4. Vitamin B2 Protects the Eye
Increased consumption of Riboflavin leads to a significant decrease in age-related cataracts.
Consumption also leads to less age-related opacity in the eyes.
Combined use of Riboflavin and UVA photochemical therapy has a positive effect in patients with eye inflammation.
5. Vitamin B2 Prevents Cardiovascular Disease
In a patient with a certain genotype, Riboflavin effectively reduces blood pressure.
Elderly who had oral Riboflavin supplementation had reduced homocysteine, which causes heart disease.
Riboflavin and folate work together to reduce homocysteine levels.
6. Vitamin B2 May Prevent Cancer
Riboflavin consumption (in addition to vitamin B6) reduces colorectal cancer risk in postmenopausal women.
B2 consumption also reduced the risk of colon cancer among women.
There is little association between B2 intake and prostate cancer prevalence, breast cancer, and lung cancer.
7. Vitamin B2 Plays a Protective Role in Bones
B2 and other B vitamin play a protective role in bone health.
In an experimental study, those who had the lowest intake of Riboflavin had a higher chance of getting fractures.
Increased intake of Riboflavin leads to more bone mass density in the neck.
8. Vitamin B2 Protects the Liver
Riboflavin may be used as a liver-protective agent against toxic effects of CCl4 and other chemical agents in the liver.
Riboflavin also reduces liver injury following liver ischemia and reperfusion in mice.
9. Vitamin B2 Protects Against Autoimmune Disorders
In a case study, B2 treatment was effective in treating a progressive neurological disorder (Brown–Vialetto–Van Laere syndrome 2).
In mice, B2 helped suppress a motor disability model after the autoimmune disorder, multiple sclerosis.
10. Vitamin B2 Reduces Nightly Leg Cramps
B2 (along with other B vitamins) helped reduce the length, pain intensity, and frequency of nocturnal leg cramps in the elderly.
11. Vitamin B2 Helps with Pregnancy
In mice, vitamin B2 supplementation leads to more pregnancy, more weight of the pups, and increased hemoglobin.
Vitamin B2 deficiency is a significant risk when diet is poor, because the human body excretes the vitamin continuously, so it is not stored. A person who has a B2 deficiency normally lacks other vitamins too.
There are two types of riboflavin deficiency:
- Primary riboflavin deficiency happens when the person’s diet is poor in vitamin B2
- Secondary riboflavin deficiency happens for another reason, maybe because the intestines cannot absorb the vitamin properly, or the body cannot use it, or because it is being excreted too rapidly
Riboflavin deficiency is also known as ariboflavinosis.
Signs and symptoms of deficiency include:
- Angular cheilitis, or cracks at the corners of the mouth
- Cracked lips
- Dry skin
- Inflammation of the lining of the mouth
- Inflammation of the tongue
- Mouth ulcers
- Red lips
- Sore throat
- Scrotal dermatitis
- Fluid in mucous membranes
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Eyes may be sensitive to bright light, and they may be itchy, watery, or bloodshot
People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol are at greater risk of vitamin B deficiency.
Side Effects & Safety
Riboflavin is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth. In some people, riboflavin can cause the urine to turn a yellow-orange color. It may also cause diarrhea.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Children: Riboflavin is LIKELY SAFE for most children when taken by mouth in appropriate amounts as recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board for the National Institute of Medicine (see dosing section below).
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Riboflavin is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth and used appropriately for pregnant or breast-feeding women. The recommended amounts are 1.4 mg per day for pregnant women and 1.6 mg per day in breast-feeding women. Riboflavin is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in larger doses, short-term. Some research shows that riboflavin is safe when taken at a dose of 15 mg once every 2 weeks for 10 weeks.
Hepatitis, Cirrhosis, Billary obstruction: Riboflavin absorption is decreased in people with these conditions.