Eating your A,B,C’s – Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
by Lisa Metzgar, PhD
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
This month I am going to continue with the Vitamin B complex. Vitamin B2 also known as riboflavin is part of a complex of vitamins that mainly provide energy to the body by converting carbohydrates to glucose. Riboflavin works in sync with the other B vitamins. It is needed to convert B6 and folate to their active forms. In addition to converting carbohydrates to glucose, it is also needed for the metabolism of proteins (amino acids) and fats (fatty acids).
Some of the other functions in the body include neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells and DNA, red blood cell formation, cell respiration, antibody production, and growth. It helps maintain healthy adrenal glands, hair, skin, nails, and eyes. Research shows that it can aid in the prevention of cataracts and can decrease the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches.
Deficiency of Vitamin B2 is indicated by cracks in the corners of the mouth, swelling and soreness of the throat, inflammation of the mouth and tongue, dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, insomnia, poor digestion, slow growth, slow mental responses, burning of the feet, and light sensitivity. Riboflavin deficiency has been seen in patients with colon cancer, heart disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, MS, and Chron’s disease.
Since the B-vitamins are water soluble it is very hard to overdose on them. Your body will just eliminate them through urine if they aren’t needed. The best way to take the B vitamins is in a B-complex with Vitamin C. Look for 100%-300% RDA in any multivitamin that you take. If you have a lot of stress either physical, mental, or emotional it is a good idea to make sure you are taking a B-complex. Also if you drink alcohol, take antibiotics, or birth control you want to make sure you are supplementing your B’s.
It is always best to get your nutrients from your food as much as you can. Nature has an amazing way of balancing vitamins and minerals for us to work in harmony with our bodies. Eat as much variety of foods as you can to avoid deficiencies. Great food sources of Riboflavin include organ meats, nuts, cheese, eggs, milk, lean meats, brewer’s yeast, mushrooms, soybeans, spinach and all green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, wild rice, fish, and legumes.
The B-vitamins are destroyed by light and are also lost in water if you boil or soak your food. It is best to steam your veggies instead of boiling them to retain as much vitamin and mineral content as possible.
So for more energy eat your B’s!
There are more B-vitamins to talk about so come back next month!
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