- Vitamin B 2 Improves energy levels
- It maintains healthy skin
- It keeps nails and hair healthy
- It may alleviate pregnancy cramps
How it works
Riboflavin is needed by the body to form two substances that are vital
for turning the calories from protein, fat, and carbohydrate in food into a
form that cells can use efficiently: FAD - which stands for flavin adenine
dinucleotide; and FMN - which stands for favin mononucleotide. (A lack of
riboflavin in the body reduces energy levels). Riboflavin is also needed for
the formation of hair, skin, and nails.
Absorption helpers Riboflavin is best absorbed when in the
presence of other B vitamins and the mineral selenium, found in Brazil nuts,
red meat, and wholegrain cereals.
Absorption inhibitors High intakes of alcohol, antidepressant
drugs such as imipramine and amitriptyline, the drug adfiamycin used in
chemotherapy, and the anti-malarial drug quinacrine can all reduce
absorption of riboflavin. Too much iron, zinc, copper, or manganese has a
similar effect. Smoking and the contraceptive pill may also deplete levels
in the body, while the exposure of foods to sunlight can destroy this
vitamin before being consumed.
Taking riboflavin supplements
The adult RDA (1.6mg) can be obtained from eating two large bowls of
fortified cereal with skimmed milk. 200mg of riboflavin a day is set as a
safe upper limit. Optimum nutritionists believe that intakes of 1.8-2.5mg a
day are appropriate, and 25-100mg daily for therapeutic uses are suggested.
Combining supplements Riboflavin is best taken with food as a
vitamin B-complex supplement.
Precautions People with, or who are prone to, cataracts should not
take more than 10mg daily because the combination of light, oxygen, and
riboflavin increases the risk of cataract development. High doses may
increase the risk of magnesium deficiency. Since there are no benefits to
taking mega doses, intakes should not exceed 200mg a day.
Why take this supplement?
The amount of riboflavin lost in the urine tends to increase in people
who are stressed or have diabetes. They may therefore need more of this
vitamin. Women taking the oral contraceptive pill may experience similar
effects, while vegans (who consume no animal foods), the elderly, and those
who are dieting may have poor intakes. Riboflavin depletion is also common
in pregnant women. Poor intakes can also lead to the following symptoms:
- Poor concentration
- Bloodshot, tired, red, and gritty eyes
- Inflamed tongue and lips
- Eczema-like skin rash
- Split nails
- Dull or oily hair
- Hair loss
RDA for adults
Top sources of Vitamin B2 mg/100g of food
- Marmite (yeast)11.0mg/100g
- Lamb's liver4.4mg/100g
- Fortified cornflakes1.3mg/100g
- Cheddar cheese0.4mg/100g
- Whole milk0.17mg/100g