What Are The Functions Of Vitamin B2? Food Sources Of Riboflavin

Vitamin B2 is the member of vitamin B complex group. It is a water soluble vitamin. Since this vitamin is second to be discovered it is called vitamin B2. The other medical name for B2 vitamin is riboflavin. Like all B vitamins, riboflavin is needed by the body for conversion of food into energy. It is used to make enzymes. Enzymes act as catalysts for various metabolic processes that take place in the body.

Vitamin B2 is found in various food sources. Riboflavin is sun sensitive. This means considerable amount of vitamin B2 is destroyed when the food containing it is exposed to ultraviolet rays of the sun for drying purpose. Riboflavin is not destroyed by normal cooking, although some amount of vitamin is drained out when the food is cooked in too much of water.

Vitamin B2 is absorbed from the food that is digested in the intestine. It is then transported to various cells through the blood. Though vitamin B2 is water soluble, liver stores this vitamin in large quantity. Vital organs such as heart, liver and kidney have maximum concentration of vitaminB2. Most of the riboflavin is excreted through urine. A small amount of it is also expelled out from sweat and in the bile.

Causes & Symptoms Of Vitamin B2 Deficiency

Vitamin B2 deficiency is prevalent widely in low socio economic section of the society. It is more commonly seen in pregnant women, children and lactating women and also in geriatric population. Cereal based diet devoid of pulses and milk can lead to deficiency of vitamin B2. Diseases such as tuberculosis, malabsorption syndrome, fevers for prolonged period, thyroid disease and malignancy can also give rise to vitamin B2 deficiency.

Deficiency of vitamin B2 can produce burning and soreness in mouth and tongue. There may be cracks and fissures at the corner of mouth. The tongue gets inflamed and appears plain and bald. The facial skin becomes dry and itchy. The skin around scrotum and vulva also become itchy with flaky and dry skin.

Deficiency may also result in redness in eyes, visual difficulty, itching and burning in the eyes. Neurological manifestation of riboflavin deficiency consists of weak hand grip, delayed time reaction etc especially in children.

Rich Food Sources Of Vitamin B2 Or Riboflavin

  • The best source of vitamin B2 is liver, kidney, cheese, meat and eggs. Milk and green leafy vegetables contain moderate amount. Marmite and Bovril are particularly rich source of this natural vitamin. In vegetables beet root, turnip, colocasia, radish leaves and carrot leaves are rich in vitamin B2.
  • Fruits such as papaya, apple, custard apple, apricots contain good amount of this vitamin.
  • Among nuts, almond, pistachio, mustard seeds, walnuts have optimum amount of vitamin B2.
  • In cereals most of vitamin B2 is available in its outer coating and germ. During milling when these layers are removed very less amount is left for consumption.

Functions Of Vitamin B2 In Our Body

One of the essential features of vitamin B2 is it promotes healthy cellular growth and health in general. It helps to form various enzymes that are needed for metabolic process of carbohydrate, fat and protein.

  • Adequate amount of riboflavin in the body is necessary for good digestion. This is attributed to the enzymatic activity promoted and triggered by vitamin B2. Initiating good motility of the intestine, vitamin B2 helps to prevent constipation.
  • Adequate amount of vitamin B2 is necessary for oral health. It prevents fissures and cracks at the corner of mouth. Burning and soreness in mouth and tongue is alleviated with good intake of vitamin B2 available from the food source.
  • Vitamin B2 plays an important role in preventing and delaying cataract formation. Adequate amount of vitamin B2 prevents dryness in the eye and consequent itching.
  • For skin ailments such as seborrhea, vitamin B2 is needed to alleviate its symptoms; especially seborrheic dermatitis around the face, scrotum in men and vulva in women.
  • Anxiety, numbness, tingling, multiple sclerosis are few neurological conditions where riboflavin plays an active role to alleviate the symptoms.