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Vitamin B2: benefits, recommended intakes, foods

Vitamin B2 is also known as riboflavin. It is one of the vitamins that can be synthesized by the body. However, this quantity produced by the body is not enough to meet the daily B2 needs. This vitamin, naturally present in certain foods, is essential for the proper functioning of the body. Its presence was discovered in milk by researchers in 1933. They then named it lactoflavin.


What is Vitamin B2?

Vitamin B2 is water soluble. Yellow in color, it in particular gives color to the urine during its elimination. It is also sensitive to heat and light. The cooking method is therefore important. Steaming preserves it. It is important to store ingredients that contain vitamin B2 in a dark place. Organs that contain vitamin B2 are kidneys, liver and heart. Vitamin B2 is also present in breast milk and urine.

The action of vitamin B2 on enzymes allows in particular the oxidation of lipids, proteins and carbohydrates. It is therefore essential to the vitality and health of vital organs.

What are the benefits and indications of vitamin B2?

Vitamin B2 plays an important role in the energy production, especially by metabolizing sugar. It is also involved in other biological processes such as the metabolism of proteins and fats.

Vitamin B2 is essential for eye health. It is also present in the retina. In addition, it contributes to the production of keratin, an important molecule for the health of nails and hair. It would also have interesting effects to relieve migraine. It would be a good ally for losing weight since vitamin B2 oxidizes fats and sugars. Vitamin B2 would have other benefits, in particular to fight against cellular aging since it is a antioxidant.

Finally, vitamin B2 helps to have a good iron reserve and a sufficient number of red blood cells.

Where to find vitamin B2 in food?

Vitamin B2 is found in many foods. Whole grains, green vegetables, brewer’s yeast contain this valuable vitamin. It is also found in other foods rich in vitamin B2 such as organ meats, dairy products, eggs, meat, fish, etc. Note that organ meats such as beef kidneys and liver are the foods that contain the most vitamin B2. Plant sources are low in vitamin B2. Larger quantities are therefore needed to meet daily requirements.

Food supplements help maintain the level of vitamin B2 in the body in case of deficiency. It is better not to self-medicate and seek advice from a health professional before getting vitamin B2 from a pharmacy. A blood test is often necessary to confirm a deficiency and to determine the correct dosage.

What are the recommended vitamin B2 intakes?

Recommended daily allowances vary according to age, gender and health status. An adult woman needs 1.5 mg of vitamin B2 per day while an adult man needs 1.6 mg per day. The child must consume 1.3 mg of this vitamin every day. The needs of the pregnant woman increase to reach 1.6 mg per day. Those of the nursing woman are 1.8 mg per day. In case of deficiency, vitamin B2 is available in pharmacies, in the form of capsules and tablets.

People with diabetes have higher needs due to their health condition. Other situations may require a higher intake of vitamin B2. Athletes and vegetarians must, in some cases, take supplements to meet their vitamin B2 needs. People who suffer from alcoholism and smokers are also likely to be affected by a deficiency and may therefore have higher than average needs. Other situations or health problems may warrant taking a vitamin B2 supplement. To find out about this, it is important to consult a health professional (doctor or pharmacist).

What are the symptoms of vitamin B2 deficiency?

The manifestations of vitamin B2 deficiency are observed at different levels. Eye health can be affected by a lack of vitamin B2. The conjunctivitis as well as other eye diseases (cataract, ocular inflammation) are sometimes consecutive to the deficiency in B2. Some skin, nail and scalp diseases can be one of the symptoms (seborrheic dermatitis, eczema). Lesions on the oral, vaginal and anal mucous membranes are also among the possible symptoms of B2 deficiency.

The deficiency can be consecutive to a pathology such as chronic alcoholism and certain intestinal diseases, in particular those responsible for malabsorption. Malnutrition can also cause vitamin B2 deficiency. If in doubt about this, the doctor prescribes a blood test. Normal values ​​range between 75 and 150 µg per litre. The diagnosis of deficiency leads to taking vitamin B2 in the form of tablets or capsules that can be found in pharmacies.

What are the side effects of vitamin B2 overdose?

L’excess vitamin B2 is a priori not possible. This vitamin is produced by the human body. In case of excess, the body gets rid of it through urine. However, an overdose may cause intestinal disorders such as diarrhea.

To avoid an overdose, it is advisable to inquire about the dosage with a pharmacist. To meet daily nutritional needs, the doses and duration of treatment must be respected. At a rate of 20 to 30 mg, it is possible to build up a good reserve of vitamin B2 quickly.

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