Vitamin B2, more commonly referred to as riboflavin, is a key nutrient for assisting the energy production because it helps break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, turning them into accessible energy. Usually found as part of any high-quality multivitamin formula or B-complex formula, this B vitamin is required to activate the critically important B6 vitamin, helping to regulate our "stressed-out" nervous systems.
Other names for Riboflavin
Vitamin B2, riboflavin-5-phosphate
Where to find Riboflavin
Adequate amounts of B2 can be found in most animal-source foods, such as nonfat milk, organ meats, eggs, and shellfish, as well as in other foods, such as dried peas and beans, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and wild rice. Even brewer's yeast and Nori seaweed provide B2.
Note B2 is easily destroyed by light, especially direct sunlight.
Popup: Foods highest in Riboflavin
The Daily Value for Riboflavin is 1.7 mg.
Why athletes use Riboflavin
While certainly necessary for energy production, this vitamin isn't likely to produce noticeable results unless our bodies are deficient. Athletes do have greater requirements for this and other B vitamins, and it would be wise to supplement with a B-complex or multivitamin to ensure a deficiency doesn't occur.
- Process and convert amino acids, carbohydrates, and fats into useable energy
Ways that Riboflavin can enhance Longevity:
- Minimize damage caused by excess stress and exercise by preserving the integrity of the nervous system
Signs of Riboflavin deficiency
Deficiency of Riboflavin has been linked to:
Potential uses for Riboflavin
Research indicates that Riboflavin may also be useful in the treatment of:
More about Riboflavin
Vitamin B2, also called riboflavin, aids the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids into usable energy. Necessary for cell regeneration, the production of antibodies, plus the regeneration of the powerful antioxidant glutathione, B2 also helps protect the moist tissues around the eyes, mouth, nose, and throat. Most notable is its functional requirement to activate the central nervous system "regulator" Vitamin B6.
Because B2 aids the growth and reproduction of tissue cells, our skin, hair, and nails are in part dependant on B2, along with other B vitamins, for optimal health. This isn't to say that increasing your B2 will give you long flowing locks or flawless skin, but a deficiency can certainly increase your chances of the reverse!
B2 has been shown in studies, most often combined with B6, to increase glutathione levels and support the use of iron in the body. Many sufferers of carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine headaches, and rheumatoid arthritis have benefited from increased supplementation.
While many have researched the effects of B2 to boost both energy levels and neuromuscular function, evidence has rarely supported that possibility. However, like B2's effect on the skin, it's the deficiency that grabs our attention. B2 works with and supports many functions of the other B vitamins, along with various enzymatic processes throughout the body. It's one part of the fuel required for this machine we call a body, and it's a necessity to ensure optimal health.
Stress and intense exercises, along with birth control pills, antidepressants, certainly alcohol, anticancer drugs, and antibiotics can undoubtedly increase our need for all of the B vitamins. Vegetarians and the elderly are also at higher risk for deficiency, which is tied to depression, migraines, fatigue, and other complications.
While supplementing with B2 alone probably won't have much effect on energy levels or performance (unless you're deficient), it is a key component for so many important bodily functions, and keeping levels optimal would clearly be preferred.
The RDA of 1.7 mg for men and 1.3 mg for women of Vitamin B2 per day is common. Because our bodies require much higher amounts in times of stress or physical activity, suggested ranges of 25 to 50 mg per day are probably more optimal.
The form of Vitamin B2 called riboflavin-5-phosphate may be more easily assimilated by some people.
Most effective when taken with meals in a multivitamin formula or a B-complex formula.
Our bodies won't use more than 20 mg of B2 when it's taken at one time. More than that will simply be excreted, turning your urine a somewhat "florescent" color.
Synergists of Riboflavin
Although not a synergy, Vitamin B2 is actually needed to activate Vitamin B6 in the body — that's a key reason it's found in multivitamins or B-complex formulas.
Drugs that interact with Riboflavin
High doses can inhibit certain drugs used in cancer treatment, such as methotrexate.
Toxicity of Riboflavin
Toxicity is rare but can lead to itching, numbness, burning sensations, and sensitivity to light. Side effects are usually found when amounts over 100 mg are taken at one time.
Bans and restrictions
- Belko, A.Z., et al., "Effects of Aerobic Exercise and Weight Loss on Riboflavin Requirements of Moderately Obese, Marginally Deficient Young Women," Am J Clin Nutr 40.3 (1984) : 553-61.
- Belko, A.Z., et al., "Effects of Exercise on Riboflavin Requirements of Young Women," Am J Clin Nutr 37.4 (1983) : 509-17.
- Lopez, R., et al., "Riboflavin Deficiency in an Adolescent Population in New York City," Am J Clin Nutr 33.6 (1980) : 1283-6.
- Manore, M.M., "Effect of Physical Activity on Thiamine, Riboflavin, and Vitamin B-6 Requirements," Am J Clin Nutr 72.2S (2000) : 598S-606S.
- Rivlin, R.S., "Riboflavin," Adv Exp Med Biol 206 (1986) : 349-55.
- Soares, M.J., et al., "The Effect of Exercise on the Riboflavin Status of Adult Men," Br J Nutr 69.2 (1993) : 541-51.
- Winters, L.R., et al., "Riboflavin Requirements and Exercise Adaptation in Older Women," Am J Clin Nutr 56.3 (1992) : 526-32.