Vitamin Expert

Vitamin B2

Vitamin name
Vitamin B2
What’s it used for? Formation of two co-enzymes essential for energy production, efficient oxygen utilisation, healthy skin, hair and nails
Best food sources Brewer’s yeast, organ meats, milk, oily fish, eggs and wild rice
How much do I need? NRV is 1.4 mg per day*
Need to know Higher doses of supplements can cause urine to have a characteristic yellow-green fluorescent glow. This is perfectly normal.

*A Nutrient Reference Value or NRV is the recommended level set by the UK Department of Health for daily nutrient intake

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 is also known as riboflavin and is part of the water-soluble family of B vitamins. It is more stable to heat than some of the other B vitamins, although it is sensitive to ultraviolet light; milk which contains vitamin B2 needs to be protected from sunlight. Vitamin B2 is not easily lost during cooking.

Why do I need it?

The main function of vitamin B2 is the formation of two coenzymes that are important for energy production. It is also involved in re-generating something called glutathione – one of our main protectors against free-radical damage. It helps the body to utilise oxygen more efficiently and is needed for healthy hair, skin and nails.

The body can produce some vitamin B2 from intestinal bacteria, but some deficiency is still fairly common due to low intake, particularly in the elderly. People with a high alcohol intake and women who have taken the contraceptive pill for a prolonged period, may also have low levels of vitamin B2.

Best food sources

The richest animal sources are from organ meats. However, there are many plant sources such as nuts, wholegrains, yeast and dark green leafy vegetables.

Foods high in vitamin B2

brewer's yeast
Brewer’s yeast – 4.28 mg per 100g
calves liver
Calf liver – 2.72 mg per 100g
Almonds – 0.92 mg per 100g
Wheat bran – 0.35 mg per 100g
Kale – 2,672 ug per 100g

Are you getting enough?

Although serious deficiency of vitamin B2 is rare, cracks on the side of the mouth, a sore tongue, eye redness or sensitivity to bright light, general fatigue, a dermatitis-type rash on the skin and dizziness can all be signs that levels are low.

Positive research is being carried out demonstrating a link between low levels of vitamin B2 and Alzheimer’s disease and dementia; good effects are being seen with additional vitamin B2 supplementation.

Did you know?

Riboflavin is destroyed by light but not by cooking
Low intake of vitamin B2 may impair the metabolism of iron which in turn can cause anaemia
Vitamin B2 is suitable to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding at the recommended dosages – consult your health care professional for further advice

For all the latest research on vitamin B2 click here

Try this

Vitamin B2 is found in the Alive! range of multi vitamins and minerals.

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