Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

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Just as the many other B vitamins, b2, also known as riboflavin, is used by the body to convert the food you eat into a form of energy that your body can use. It is a water-soluble vitamin so the body does not store it; therefore the body’s supply needs to be regularly replenished.



As previously stated, riboflavin is used to produce energy for the body. It does this by taking the carbohydrates that you ingest and converting it into glucose. This glucose is then used by the body to produce energy for it to do work, i.e., bodily processes.

Riboflavin is also an antioxidant. As an antioxidant, it fights against free radicals in the body. These free radicals can cause damage to your cells and even DNA; therefore, it is these free radicals that cause aging. They can also contribute to the health problems like cancer and heart disease. Since riboflavin fights these free radicals, it can help to limit the amount of damage that the free radicals do to your body. By reducing the amount of damage done, it can slow down the aging process and help to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease as well.

Another beneficial property of riboflavin is its role in growth and hematopoiesis. It helps these processes by changing vitamin b6 and folate into useable forms.

There is also evidence that riboflavin may be beneficial in the prevention of cataracts, migraine headaches, and autism. Since riboflavin is important for healthy vision, there is evidence that it may help to reduce the risk of cataracts. As far as Autism is concerned, vitamin b2 can reduce the level of dicarboxylic acids found in the urine of children with autism.



The daily recommended dose in children from infants to 18 years old ranges from 0.3mg and 1mg; this dose increases with age. For adults, 19 years and older, the doses range from 1.1mg and 1.6mg. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should take the higher dose of 1.6mg.

Riboflavin can be found in foods such as almonds, wild rice, mushrooms, spinach, etc. The riboflavin is absorbed by the body in between meals. However, the vitamin is destroyed by light so foods that contain it should be stored in a shaded area. Also, in order to maintain the integrity of riboflavin, the foods should be prepared by either steaming or roasting rather than by frying.


Side Effects:

Riboflavin is a relatively safe vitamin to take, even when taken in high doses. However, if the daily dose exceeds 10mg is can cause some complications. For example, it may cause an increase in eye damage from the sun. In order to prevent eye damage, those taking high doses of riboflavin should wear sunglasses when exposed to UV light.

No serious side effects are known however, it may cause itchiness, numbness, burning, yellow/orange urine, or increased sensitivity to light.

There may also be negative interactions with certain medications. If you are taking anticholinergic medications, Tetracycline, tricyclic antidepressants, antipsychotic medications, Doxorubicin, Methotrexate, Phenytoin, Probenecid, or Thiazide diuretics, you should consult with your doctor before taking a riboflavin supplement.


For more information on vitamin b3, click on the link below:



Research done by Jessica L. Silvestri

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