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Home > Health Library > Riboflavin-Vitamin B2
Riboflavin-Vitamin B2
Overview

Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is an easily absorbed, water-soluble micronutrient with a key role in maintaining human health. Riboflavin is an orange powder, and water solutions have intense greenish yellow fluorescence. Vitamin B2 is a water-soluble vitamin, one that cannot be stored by the body except in insignificant amounts. It must be replenished daily. Like the other B vitamins, it supports energy production by aiding in the metabolizing of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Vitamin B2 is also required for red blood cell formation and respiration, antibody production, and for regulating human growth and reproduction. It is essential for healthy skin, nails, hair growth and general good health, including regulating thyroid activity.

Riboflavin or vitamin B2 is an essential nutrient in human nutrition and plays a key role in the production of energy. Vitamin B2 is needed to process amino acids and fats, activate vitamin B6 and folic acid, and help convert carbohydrates into the fuel the body runs on. Under some conditions, vitamin B2 can act as an antioxidant. Vitamin B2 is an intermediary the transfer of electrons in the cellular oxidation-reduction reactions which generate energy from protein, carbohydrate and fat. The riboflavin coenzymes are also important for the transformation of vitamin B6 and folic acid into their respective active forms, and for the conversion of tryptophan into niacin. Riboflavin is involved in energy production as part of the electron transport chain that produces cellular energy.

What is Riboflavin?
Riboflavin is a type of B vitamin. It is water soluble, which means it is not stored in the body. We must replenish the vitamin every day. It is required by the body to use oxygen and the metabolism of amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates. Riboflavin is further needed to activate vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), helps to create niacin and assists the adrenal gland. It may be used for red blood cell formation, antibody production, cell respiration, and growth. It eases watery eye fatigue and may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of cataracts. Vitamin B2 is required for the health of the mucus membranes in the digestive tract and helps with the absorption of iron and vitamin B6. Although it is needed for periods of rapid growth, it is also needed when protein intake is high, and is most beneficial to the skin, hair and nails.

A shortage of this vitamin may manifest itself as cracks and sores at the corners of the mouth, eye disorders, inflammation of the mouth and tongue, and skin lesions.

Dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, insomnia, light sensitivity, poor digestion, retarded growth, and slow mental responses have also been reported. Burning feet can also be indicative of a shortage.

Where it is found?
Lean meats, eggs, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, dairy products, and milk provide riboflavin in the diet. Breads and cereals are often fortified with riboflavin because riboflavin is destroyed by exposure to light, foods with riboflavin should not be stored in glass containers that are exposed to light.

See Riboflavin related videos:
video icon Vitamin B2(video module - 2.55 minutes)
video icon Vitamin B2(video module - 1.07 minutes)
Product related PDF file
About Riboflavin
Riboflavin- The Vitamin B2
 

Benefits / uses
Riboflavin is an integral component of the coenzymes that participate in many energy-yielding metabolic pathways. Like its close relative vitamin B1 (thiamine), riboflavin plays a crucial role in certain metabolic reactions, particularly the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar, which is "burned" to produce energy. They promote the first steps in the metabolism (breakdown and production) of glucose and of fatty acids. The metabolism of some vitamins and minerals also require riboflavin. Riboflavin is essential for tissue respiration and the generation of energy from the carbohydrates, acids and fats. It is important for body growth and red blood cell production and helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.

Vitamin B2 helps prevent and is used to treat migraine headaches, cataracts, rheumatoid arthritis, and a number of skin disorders such as acne (acne rosacea), dermatitis, and eczema. In the treatment of anemia, adding Vitamin B2 to iron supplements has shown to increase its effectiveness. Vital to maintaining a proper metabolism, riboflavin also helps to shore up the immune system by reinforcing antibody reserves, the body's first line of defense against infection. Along with iron, riboflavin is essential for producing the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. In addition, the body uses extra riboflavin to keep tissue in good repair and speed healing of wounds, burns and other injuries. Along with such B vitamins as vitamin B6 and niacin (which it helps the body convert into active forms), riboflavin protects the nervous system. It may therefore have a role to play in treating nervous system conditions such as numbness and tingling, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and even anxiety, stress, and fatigue. Carpal tunnel syndrome may benefit from a treatment program including this vitamin when combined with vitamin B6. The body needs vitamin B2 for reproduction and it also enhances the immune system's ability to fight disease.
Riboflavin is vital for normal reproduction, growth, repair and development of body tissues including the skin, hair, nails, connective tissue and immune system. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) works with the other B vitamins. Dietary and supplemental vitamin B2, along with other nutrients is important for normal vision and prevention of cataracts. Riboflavin's ability to improve the skin's secretion of mucus may aid in clearing up skin pustules associated with rosacea.

When to take/Type to take
Vitamin B2 are best to be taken with meals. Commercially there are not multiple forms of vitamin B2. Riboflavin is produced by fermentation of ribose (from glucose)

Doses
The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following dietary reference intake for riboflavin:
Infants
0 - 6 months: 0.3 milligrams per day (mg/day)
7 - 12 months: 0.4 mg/day

Children
1 - 3 years: 0.5 mg/day
4 - 8 years: 0.6 mg/day
9 - 13 years: 0.9 mg/day

Adolescents and Adults
Males age 14 and older: 1.3 mg/day
Females age 14 to 18 years: 1.0 mg/day
Females age 19 and older: 1.1 mg/day

The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid.Specific recommendations depend on age, gender, and other factors (such as pregnancy). Women who are pregnant or producing breast milk (lactating) need higher amounts.

Possible Side effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions:
There is no known toxicity to riboflavin. Because riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin, excess amounts are easily excreted by the body in the urine. Possible reactions to very high doses may include itching, numbness, burning or prickling sensations, and sensitivity to light. Excess riboflavin excreted in the urine causes it to become bright yellow in color, which many people notice when they take B vitamin supplements.

Research studies / References

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arw Higdon, Jane; Victoria J. Drake (2007). "Riboflavin". Micronutrient Information Center. Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/riboflavin/. Retrieved December 3, 2009.
   
arw Food Standards Agency, McCance and Widdowson's The Composition of Foods, 6th summary ed, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, 2002
   
arw a b Ball F.M. George, Riboflavin in Vitamins in Foods, Analysis, Bioavailability, and Stability. Taylor and Francis Group, New York, 2006. P168-175
   
arw Kanno, C., Kanehara, N., Shirafuji, K., and et al. Binding Form of Vitamin B2 in Bovine Milk: its concentration, distribution, and binding linkage, J. Nutr. Sci. Vitaminol., 37, 15, 1991
   
arw Faron G, Drouin R, Pedneault L, et al. Recurrent cleft lip and palate in siblings of a patient with malabsorption syndrome, probably caused by hypovitaminosis A associated with folic acid and riboflavin deficiencies. Teratology 2001;63:161-3
   
arw National Research Council. RDAs, 10th ed. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1989, PP.132-37
   
arw a b c Gropper SS, Smith JL, and Groff JL. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. 5th ed. Wadsworth: CENGAG Learning; 2009. Riboflavin, Chapter 9. p. 329-333.
   
arw a b Brody, Tom (1999). Nutritional Biochemistry. San Diego: Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-134836-9. OCLC 212425693 39699995 51091036 162571066 212425693 39699995 51091036.
   
arw Powers J. Hilary. Riboflavin (vitamin B-2) and health, Review Article. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;77:1352-60
   
arw Gibson S. Rosalind, Riboflavin in Principles of Nutritional Assessment, 2nd ed. OXFORD university press, 2005
   
arw Tilloston JA, Bashor EM. An enzymatic measurement of the riboflavin status in man. American J. Of Clin. Nutr., 1972; 72:251-261
   
arw Rutishauser IHE, Bates CJ, Paul AA, and et al. Long term vitamin status and dietary intake of health elderly subjects. I. Riboflavin. British J. of Nutr. , 1979; 42:33-42
   
arw Gibson S. Rosalind, Riboflavin in Principles of Nutritional Assessment, 2nd ed. OXFORD university press, 2005.
   
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arw Schoenen J, Jacquy J, Lenaerts, M. Effectiveness of high-dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis. A randomized controlled trial. Neurology. 1998 Feb;50(2):466-70.
   
arw Migraine Action UK
   
arw Ruane PH, et al., "Photochemical Inactivation of Selected Viruses and Bacteria in Platelet Concentrates Using Riboflavin and Light." Transfusion 2004; 44: 877-885.
   
arw Goodrich RP, et al., "The Mirasol PRT System for Pathogen Reduction of Platelets and Plasma: An Overview of Current Status and Future Trends." Transfusion and Apheresis Science 2006; 35 (1): 5-17.
   
arw a b Goodrich RP, et.al,Chapter 5:"The Antiviral and Antibacterial Properties of Riboflavin and Light: Applications to Blood Safety and Transfusion Medicine."Flavins: Photochemistry and Photobiology, Vol. 6, 2006, Royal Society of Chemistry; Cambridge, United Kingdom. E Silva and AM Edwards, editors.
   
arw Kumar V, et al., "Riboflavin and UV-Light Based Pathogen Reduction: Extent and Consequence of DNA Damage at the Molecular Level." Photochemistry and Photobiology2004; 80: 15-21.
   
arw Hardwick CC, et al., "Separation, Identification and Quantification of Riboflavin and Its Photoproducts in Blood Products Using High-Performance Liquid Chromotography With Fluorescence Detection: A Method to Support Pathogen Reduction Technology." Photochemistry and Photobiology 2004; 80 (3): 609-615.
   
arw a b Unna, Klaus and Greslin, Joseph G.. Studies on the toxicity and pharmacology of riboflavin. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1942;76(1):75-80.
   
arw Zempleni, J and Galloway, JR and McCormick, DB. Pharmacokinetics of orally and intravenously administered riboflavin in healthy humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996;63(1):54-66. PMID 8604671.
   
arw Boehnke C, Reuter U, Flach U, et al.. High-dose riboflavin treatment is efficacious in migraine prophylaxis: an open study in a tertiary care centre. Eur J Neurol. 2004;11(7):475-477. doi:10.1111/j.1468-1331.2004.00813.x. PMID 15257686.
   
arw Stahmann KP, Revuelta JL and Seulberger H. Three biotechnical processes using Ashbya gossypii, Candida famata, or Bacillus subtilis compete with chemical riboflavin production. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2000;53(5):509-516. doi:10.1007/s002530051649. PMID 10855708.
   
arw Sims GK and O'Loughlin EJ. Riboflavin production during growth of Micrococcus luteus on pyridine. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 1992;58(10):3423-3425. PMID 16348793.