Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

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At a Glance

Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, has many functions including helping your body metabolize toxins in the liver, helping metabolize iron, and assisting with the creation of red blood cells. Vitamin B2 is found in many plant and animal foods including green leafy vegetables, eggs, almonds, salmon, and whole grains.

Overview

Has your pee ever turned bright yellow? That’s a sign that your diet is rich in vitamin B2, a water soluble vitamin. In fact, vitamin B2 (also known as riboflavin) is one of the only vitamins that provides visual body cues to let you know that your diet is rich in the vitamin. And the vitamins name speaks to this body cue; the “flavin” in riboflavin comes from flavus, the latin word for yellow!

Importance

Vitamin B2 has many functions in the body including:

  • Helping to make up the electron transporter FAD
  • Participating in the metabolism of drugs and toxins in the liver
  • Acting as an antioxidant in the neutralization of hydroperoxides
  • Helping in the conversion of xanthine to uric acid
  • Helping with iron metabolism
  • Helping to maintain healthy levels of other B vitamins
  • Involvement in red blood cell production.

Food Sources

Vitamin B2 can be found in several foods including:

Deficiencies

Common symptoms and resulting conditions of vitamin B2 deficiency include:

  • Cracks, fissures, and sores at corner of mouth and lips
  • Dermatitis
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Photophobia (light avoidance)
  • Glossitis (inflammation or infection) of tongue
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue.

However, your individual response could be different. If you suspect a health problem or deficiency in certain nutrients, please see your primary health care provider (doctor, naturopath, etc). They can help unravel the complexity of your physiology.

Excess/Toxicity

Common symptoms of vitamin B2 excess/toxicity include:

  • Increased risk of DNA strand breaks in the presence of chromium
  • Intensifying urine color (flavinuria; although this is harmless).

However, your individual response could be different. If you suspect a health problem or an excess of certain nutrients, please see your primary health care provider (doctor, naturopath, etc). They can help unravel the complexity of your physiology.

Recipe

For recipes rich in vitamin B2, check out any of the Encyclopedia of Food entries for food items listed above.

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At a Glance

Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, has many functions including helping your body metabolize toxins in the liver, helping metabolize iron, and assisting with the creation of red blood cells. Vitamin B2 is found in many plant and animal foods including green leafy vegetables, eggs, almonds, salmon, and whole grains.