Vitamin B2 (or riboflavin) is a water-soluble vitamin (not stored in body fat) that is needed to activate flavoproteins, food enzymes that help release energy from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. For the most part, this vitamin is absorbed in the upper digestive tract. Because it is yellow, riboflavin is also added to food in the form of E101 food color.
What does vitamin B2 do?
Vitamin B2 plays a critical role in helping the body:
Recommended Dietary Allowances for Vitamin B2:
Source: Manuel Pratique de Nutrition, L’alimentation préventive et curative, p. 68, 2009.
The primary food sources of riboflavin include milk and milk-based beverages, baked goods, and enriched cereals.
Food Sources for Vitamin B2:
Source: Manuel Pratique de Nutrition; L’alimentation préventive et curative, 2009.
Deficiency usually results when the diet is low in vitamin B2, and can lead to low vitamin B6 and niacin levels. Deficiency may also be caused when the body does not absorb vitamins properly. Vitamin B2 deficiency may be triggered or aggravated by certain medical conditions, namely:
Some people may require more riboflavin, particularly those who have serious malabsorption problems or are undergoing dialysis, as well as women who are pregnant with multiples or nursing more than one infant.
Signs of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) deficiency:
Elevated riboflavin levels, whether from diet or supplements, have not been associated with any substantive side effects. Large amounts of this insoluble vitamin, consumed orally, would appear to be relatively harmless because the body absorbs very little riboflavin in the digestive tract, quickly excreting it in urine.
Signs of excess vitamin B2 (riboflavin):
Natural health products and vitamin supplements:
Speak with your pharmacist if you plan to take vitamin B2 supplements. Your pharmacist can help you choose the solution that’s best for you based on your health and any drugs you take.
Vitamin B2, Riboflavin