Today I’m spotlighting Vitamin B2. On my Facebook page this week we are focused on almonds, which is a food source high in Vitamin B2. It’s a versatile nut, and can be easily used in everything from baking muffins, cookies, and loaves to crusting seafood, sprinkling on salad, creating nut butters, and mixed in sweet and savoury snacks.
Vitamin B2 plays a role in keeping your nervous system running smoothly. While Vitamin B1 helps to convert food energy to glucose, Vitamin B2 assists the body in converting that glucose to energy. It helps to create hydrochloric acid, which aids the body in breaking down carbohydrate, fats, and proteins.
Vitamin B2 also helps to alleviate migraines, and, like all B-vitamins, works in conjunction with the other B vitamins. It plays a role in cancer prevention, eye health (including the prevention of age-related disease), brain health (including the prevention of age-related disease), and skin health (including the lessening of age-related markers such as fine lines and wrinkles and chapped lips)
You can get Vitamin B2 from many food sources. It’s sensitive to light, so most grain products containing riboflavin have a synthetic version added- you may see this on the label, listed as “fortified” or “enriched”. It’s naturally found in red meat, egg yolks, some seafood (including seaweed), organ meats, green leafy vegetables, some nuts, and some dairy.
Vitamin B2 plays a role in preventing anemia by helping transport oxygen to our cells and helping to produce red blood cells. It also helps to protect gestation by converting folate into a form the body can use, and a deficiency in riboflavin can lead to preeclampsia.
The B-Complex is water soluble. Our bodies can only hold on to so much of it, but different amounts are required at different times. It’s important to daily replenish your Vitamin B2 intake through your favourite foods, and to plan your meals accordingly.
It is very difficult to overdose on vitamins through your diet, but extremely easy to do so via supplementation. Because the B-complex vitamins work together, taking a single supplement is not recommended- best to take the complete B-family.
To summarize, Vitamin B2 is important to:
Vitamin B2 deficiency looks like chapped lips, bloodshot eyes, light sensitivity, sore throat, fatigue, and anemia.
You can find Vitamin B2 in these food sources:
Fortified grains, almonds, eggs, red meat, seaweed, salmon, some dairy, some vegetables, dark meat, and liver.
Adults need 1.1-1.3mg of Vitamin B2 daily, depending on their sex. Pregnant and breastfeeding women require more, between 1.4 and 1.6mg per day. Supplements are unnecessary in most cases- consult with your health care provider if you have any questions and before self-medicating.
For more information on Vitamin B2 dosing and interactions, please check here.
A very in-depth look at this vitamin can be found here.