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What Is Vitamin B2 and Why Do We Need It?

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Discover one of the most important vitamins and how it helps our bodies function as they should. Vitamin B2 comes with many incredible benefits. Find out more.

family joggingFeeling exhausted? If you’re too familiar with what a lack of energy feels like, you need to know more about the B vitamins group. In this article we’re looking at vitamin B2 and how it helps our body work properly, while discovering a few delicious food sources full of this important nutrient.

What is vitamin B2 (riboflavin)?

Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is one of the eight B vitamins responsible for converting food into energy. It is also part of the water-soluble group of vitamins, which means vitamin B2 is carried through the body via the bloodstream without being stored. This is why we need to replenish our stores of vitamin B2 daily.

What does vitamin B2 do?

Vitamin B2 helps fuel our body with energy, but this is not the only important job for this essential nutrient. Riboflavin is a powerful antioxidant as well. In other words, it neutralises those free radicals able to damage our cells, making it essential for every part of our body. Vitamin B2 also contributes to the production of red blood cells and it pairs well with the rest of the B vitamins to help maintain our eyes and skin healthy.

What are the benefits of vitamin B2?

Vitamin B2 may help prevent migraines

Anyone suffering from migraines and looking for ways to avoid those uncomfortable headaches might have a powerful ally in vitamin B2. Studies1 have shown a possible link between riboflavin and migraine prevention in both children and adults. However, the caveat is that more research needs to be done before your doctor starts prescribing vitamin B2 as a cure for migraines. But the emergent studies give us great hope for this amazing benefit of vitamin B2.

Vitamin B2 may protect us against cataracts

The B vitamins contribute to maintaining our eyes healthy. But did you know that vitamin B2 may also keep cataracts at bay? Research2 indicates that when combined with protein, vitamin A and other B vitamins, vitamin B2 may protect us against this eye condition.

Vitamin B2 may reduce muscle pain

man rubbing leg after runningA smaller study3 has shown that vitamin B2 may even reduce muscle soreness after exercise and could also help with recovery. Although more research needs to be done, it’s another hint that this amazing vitamin comes with plenty of benefits.
Vitamin B2 may help boost our iron levels
Iron helps our bodies make haemoglobin, a substance that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Research4 indicates there could be another benefit of vitamin B2 we should keep in mind: riboflavin may help us produce more iron, therefore reducing our chances of developing anaemia.

What are the best food sources for vitamin B2?

pouring a glass of milkAccording to the NHS, good sources of vitamin B2 include diary such as milk and yoghurt, as well as eggs and mushrooms. Producers of breakfast cereals usually fortify their products with different vitamins, and B2 is often one of them.

How much vitamin B2 do we need daily?

We need to top up our vitamin B2 reserves every day due to our body’s inability to store it. Luckily, we don’t need huge quantities to make sure everything is working properly. The NHS advises that the daily dose of riboflavin should be 1.3mg a day for men and 1.1mg a day for women. Eating a balanced diet should help us get the right amount.

What are the symptoms of vitamin B2 deficiency?

We’ve seen that when we get the right amount of nutrients from our diet, we can enjoy the benefits vitamin B2 has in store for the well-functioning of our body. But what happens when we don’t get enough? If your body doesn’t get enough vitamin B2, you might start to notice symptoms such as mouth ulcers, increased eye sensitivity, dry skin or anaemia. Make sure you visit your doctor if you’re experiencing unusual symptoms. Vitamin B2 deficiency can be caused by a poor diet, but there can be other underlying conditions that make it hard for your body to absorb nutrients.

Are there vitamin B2 supplements?

Yes, dietary supplements for vitamin B2 exist. You should be able to take all the necessary nutrients from food, but sometimes the body needs a bit of extra help. You can find this nutrient on its own or in formulas containing other different B vitamins. Multivitamins created to tackle lack of energy might also include vitamin B2. Consult your doctor about the best sources of vitamin B2 and whether you need to supplement your intake. Taking 40mg or less a day of riboflavin supplements is unlikely to cause any harm5.

Curious about the other B vitamins and their amazing benefits? Discover more about vitamin B12 another great nutrient whenever we feel exhausted. And get to know the interesting facts about vitamin B1, from the way it was discovered to key food sources.


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