Riboflavin: Health Benefits, Side effects, Dosage and More

Riboflavin
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

What is Riboflavin?

Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, naturally occurs in meat, dairy products, and some vegetables. It can also be synthesized manually. It is usually yellow or light green in color. When consumed in plenty, riboflavin causes a dark yellow tinge to your urine. It has poor solubility in water but helps your body to convert carbohydrates into glucose for energy. It is a vital ingredient that stimulates health skin, eyes, and liver. In addition, riboflavin helps the nervous system to function properly.

Where Does It Come From?

Since it has poor solubility in water, riboflavin cannot be stored in your body. This means that you have to consume it on a daily basis. It can be obtained from dairy products, such as milk, cheese and eggs. Other sources include red meat, tuna, salmon and dark meat. Vegetables that contain vitamin B2 include spinach, asparagus and broccoli. Soybeans, almonds and whole grains from wheat are also rich in riboflavin.

Health Benefits of Riboflavin

Your body requires riboflavin in dealing with nutritional deficiencies through processing functions. It lowers the risk of anemia which occurs due to iron deficiency. In pregnant women, Riboflavin prevents preeclampsia, a dangerous condition that result to high blood pressure. It also promotes* the absorption of nutrients along the digestive tract. Other conditions addressed by vitamin B2 include mouth or lip sores, skin problems, sore throat, and swollen mucus membranes. Additionally, riboflavin helps in energy production, synthesis of red blood cells, regulates growth and reproduction, controls thyroid activity, and promotes* the nervous system. It is also essential for normal growth, healthy eyes and helps to slow down the progression of HIV/AIDS, according to studies. It boosts* immunity and promotes* health fetal development

Health Benefits of Riboflavin

What are the Potential Side Effects of Riboflavin?

Riboflavin have the potential for side effects and interactions. The dietary supplement should therefore be taken under the close supervision of an experienced health care provider. Although it is generally considered to be safe, high doses exceeding 10 grams in a day can cause eye damages from the sun. Protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays by wearing sunglasses if you take plenty amounts of riboflavin. Possible side effects include itching, numbness, orange or yellow urine, burning sensation, and increased sensitivity to light. Studies suggest that if you take vitamin B2 for a long period, it can cause an imbalance of other vital B vitamins.

Recommended Dosage and Timing for Riboflavin

Riboflavin dosages may vary depending on your age and the condition that you are dealing with. It should be taken orally. To deal with low deficiency levels of vitamin B2, take 5-30 milligrams of riboflavin per day in divided doses. To prevent headaches, consume 400 milligrams daily for about 3 months to get the desired results. For cataract prevention, use a dietary intake of about 2.6 milligrams or a combination of 3 milligrams of riboflavin with 40 milligrams of niacin every day. The daily recommendation dietary allowance for riboflavin as follows:

  • Children/infants aged below 6 months: 0.3 milligrams
  • 7-12 months old infants: 0.4 milligrams
  • Children aged between 1-3 years: 0.5 milligrams
  • 4-8 years: 0.6 milligrams
  • 9-13 years: 0.9 milligrams
  • Men above 14 years: 1.3 milligrams
  • Women 14-18 years: 1 milligram
  • Women above 18 years: 1.1 milligrams
  • Pregnant women: 1.6 milligrams

Use of Riboflavin in Supplements

Riboflavin is available in form of dietary supplement that should be taken orally along with the meals. Other than helping in energy production, vitamin B2 works as an antioxidant which fights free radicals that damage cells and DNA resulting to premature aging. The supplement also eases symptoms associated with health conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Riboflavin supplement helps in the conversion of vitamin B6 into a form that your body can utilize. In addition, it promotes* the production of red blood cells and boost* body growth.

Must Watch – Riboflavin: Vitamin B2 for Energy, Healthy Skin and Cataract Prevention

Riboflavin Interactions

Riboflavin interactions can occur if you are already under medications for treating other health conditions. Check with your doctor first if you use anticholinergic drugs, tetracycline, tricyclic antidepressants, or antipsychotic drugs. Some of these drugs can make it hard for riboflavin to get absorbed along your digestive tract. Some health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can interfere with your body’s ability to use riboflavin. Water pills (diuretics) can increase* the loss of riboflavin through urine.

Conclusion

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is an essential compound required by your body for optimized functions. It helps the body to absorb other vital nutrients along the digestive system. Riboflavin should be taken on a daily basis because it cannot be stored in the body. Although its deficiencies are rare, it is important to ensure that you consume the recommended dosage of vitamin B2 every day in your diet or through supplementation. Readily available sources of vitamin B2 include dairy products, red meat, some vegetables, whole grains and fruits.

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Author

Expert Author : Ella James (Consumer Health Digest)

Ella James is a freelance journalist who specializes in fitness, health, nutrition and travel. Currently, she is a contributing editor for Consumer Health Digest as well as regularly writes for publications including All You, Shape, Self, Weight Watchers, Women's Health, Real Simple, Prevention and Fitness.