Back to Basics- All About Vitamin B2

What is Vitamin B2?

Riboflavin is part of the vitamin B complex that is known as the “G” factor. It is soluble in alcohol, relaxes smooth muscle and acts as a vasodilator. Riboflavin is also soluble in water and is a yellow, green fluorescent compound. That is the bright orange color that is seen in the urine after taking a multiple vitamin supplements.

Why do we need it?

We need to have a good amount of vitamin B2 for a variety of reasons:

  • Acts as a cofactor in oxidation-reduction reactions involved in carbohydrate metabolism
  • Essential for cellular respiration and utilization of cellular oxygen
  • Necessary for converting Vitamin B6 into its active form
  • Important in conversion of niacin into tryptophan
  • Involved in the breakdown, utilization and metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins

How do we get it?

We can get a good amount of this vitamin from the following foods:

  • Almonds
  • Yeast
  • Alfalfa
  • Wheat germ
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Whole grains

How do we know if we are deficient in it?

Some early signs of deficiency include:

  • Cracks and sores in corner of mouth and lips
  • Red sore tongue
  • Feeling of sand or grit under eyelids
  • Burning and itching of eyes
  • Increased light sensitivity
  • Loss of visual acuity
  • Sluggishness

Deficiency can be caused by:

  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetes
  • Congestive Heart failure
  • Chronic stress

Source: The Nutritional Therapy Association