Vitamin B2 (also known as riboflavin) is part of the B-complex group of vitamins (a group of vitamins that were initially thought to be the singular vitamin B due to their similar roles in the body). It was discovered in the 1930s when Otto Warburg successfully isolated riboflavin as the result of detailed research into the B-complex vitamins. Riboflavin’s main function is to help your body’s cells break down food for energy but there is a lot more to it than this. In this article I am going to help you learn a little more about this vitamin by providing you with five fun vitamin B2 facts.
1) IT WORKS WITH THE OTHER B-COMPLEX VITAMINS TO GIVE YOU ENERGY:- Although vitamin B2 is required by your body to break down carbohydrates, fats and protein into a form that it can use, it does not work alone. All the B-complex vitamins combine so that the reaction that breaks these macronutrients down into energy can take place. Therefore, whilst it is important that you consume adequate levels of B2 you also need to make sure that you are getting your other B-complex vitamins as well.
2) IT PROMOTES HEALTHY SKIN, VISION AND BLOOD:- Every time your body uses oxygen free radicals are produced as a by-product. These free radicals can damage many structures in the body including blood vessel linings and cell membranes. To protect against these free radicals your body can use molecules called antioxidants. Riboflavin helps your body recycle the antioxidant glutathione which protects the eyes, the skin and the blood vessels from this oxygen based damage. Therefore, vitamin B2 promotes healthy skin, vision and blood by protecting these vital structures.
3) IT CAN BE FOUND IN MULTIPLE FOODS:- This vitamin can be sourced from a variety of foods. In fact you probably consume more vitamin B2 than you realise. Milk is one of the best sources of riboflavin but other dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt also contain good levels. Therefore, if you don’t think you are consuming enough of this vitamin try adding some dairy to your diet.
4) IT IS A WATER SOLUBLE VITAMIN:- Vitamin B2 is a water soluble vitamin which (as you probably guessed from the name) means that it dissolves in water. Your body cannot store water soluble vitamins so you need to make sure that you get the recommended amount of riboflavin each day which is 1.3mg for men and 1.1mg for women. Water soluble vitamins are also very sensitive to light meaning that you should try and store foods containing B2 in a dark place and keep them away from intense lighting.
5) NOT GETTING ENOUGH CAN CAUSE SKIN PROBLEMS:- Riboflavin deficiency is very rare in developed western countries. However, if your diet is seriously lacking in vitamin B2 it can lead to your skin becoming greasy, scaly or dry. This can ultimately lead to painful cracks and sores developing on your skin.
I hope this article has given you a greater understanding of vitamin B2 and the role it plays in your body It allows your body’s cells to extract energy from the food you eat and also plays a key role in protecting them from oxidative damage. Therefore, it is essential for healthy living.