Want to know more about vitamin B2? Then you've come to the right place. Because I have summarized the most important information about the vitamin, also known as riboflavin. From a compact vitamin B2 profile to intake, daily requirement, importance for the body, overdose, deficiency symptoms, analysis and ways to cover your daily riboflavin requirement. Towards the end there is also special information for vegans and vegetarians, as well as explanations of food supplements.
Here is in advance a short Overview for you:
Notice: This article is not a substitute for medical advice, but merely provides general information about vitamin B2 or riboflavin. Please consult your doctor if you feel unwell or want to prevent health problems with medical care.
Vitamin B2 STECKBRIEF at a glance
Assignment: Group of water-soluble vitamins
Synonyms: Riboflavin, lactoflavin
Important for: Fat, carbohydrate, protein metabolism, immune system, growth, protection of nerve cells, antioxidant effect.
Daily requirement: Men 1.3-1.4 mg/day, women 1.0-1.1 mg/day₁
Recording: through food intake or dietary supplements
Overdose: not known in humans
Deficiency symptoms: e.g. skin rash, skin cracks, hypersensitivity to light
Food: Meat and dairy products, almonds, whole grain products
Food supplement: mainly in vitamin B complexes or combination preparations
How to absorb vitamin B2?
An important fundamental aspect of B2 recording is the Low storage capacity of riboflavin of only about six weeks.2 For this reason, you should make sure that you get a constant supply of riboflavin. This works best with the right preparation methods for B2-containing foods.
Since riboflavin belongs to the water-soluble vitamins, you can optimize the absorption of B2 by trying to avoid water in the preparation or by continuing to use the water. For example, when preparing broccoli, you could either steam or sauté the broccoli. Alternatively, you can also boil it and puree it together with the cooking water to make a soup. This allows you to retain as much vitamin B2 as possible in your meal.
The cooking itself is rather unproblematic with riboflavin, because the vitamin is very heat stable is. On the other hand, it is important that you store foods containing riboflavin in dark packaging, as B2 photosensitive is. Riboflavin-containing foods such as wholegrain products, yeast flakes, nuts and seeds should therefore be kept in the cupboard or pantry.3
What is the daily requirement of riboflavin?
The following table shows the reference values for riboflavin recommended by the German Nutrition Society (DGE).
|1 to under 4 years
|4 to under 7 years
|7 to under 10 years
|10 to under 13 years
|13 to under 15 years
|15 to under 19 years
|19 to under 51 years
For pregnant women, the requirement increases to 1.3 mg per day from the fourth month and to 1.4 mg per day from the seventh month and during breastfeeding.1
For which bodily functions is B2 needed?
Like many other B vitamins, riboflavin is included in many Metabolic processes involved. It influences fat, carbohydrate, protein and probably also iron metabolism. Other areas of influence are the formation of red Blood cells and antibodies and the health maintenance of Skin, hair and nails.4
Riboflavin is also used for Protection of nerve cells and is used for the Growth required.
The functions of vitamin B2 at a glance:
- Fat, carbohydrate and protein metabolism
- Formation of antibodies
- Formation of red blood cells
- Preservation of skin, hair and nails
- Protection of nerve cells and growth.
Is an overdose of riboflavin possible?
As already mentioned, riboflavin is water-soluble. This also means that excess riboflavin is simply excreted in the urine. A study conducted by the American Academy of Neurology confirms that it is No negative effects at an extremely high dosage of riboflavin.5
In the case of an absolutely excessive intake of the vitamin, it can only lead to a basically harmless, yellowish discoloration of the urine come. This is because vitamin B2 has a yellow color. This is also where the name riboflavin comes from, as flavus in Latin yellow, blonde means.
When does a vitamin B12 deficiency occur?
As with many other Nutrients favored Alcoholism the risk of deficiency. Other potential risk factors are chronic inflammatory diseases Intestinal diseases, Chemotherapy and one-sided or Inadequate nutrition.
Symptoms of riboflavin deficiency are Hypersensitivity to light and skin problems such as rashes or cracks. The latter often occur in the corner of the mouth. In severe cases, growth or neurological disorders can also occur.
Analytics for the determination of vitamin B2 supply
If you want to determine your B2 value, there are various options that will all lead you to your goal. You can use the Riboflavin excretion in urine, the B2 concentration in serum or the Enzyme activity of glutathione reductase in the red blood cells.
If you decide to measure the riboflavin excretion in your urine, the reference value for a good B2 supply is 70-100 µg/dl. If you have your blood serum tested for your B2 concentration, a good supply is 80-120 µg riboflavin per g creatine. If you have less than 40 µg riboflavin per g creatine, you are said to have a deficiency.
To measure the enzyme activity of glutathione reductase, the increase in activity after administration of the coenzyme FAD is measured. If there is a stimulation of more than 40 %, there is a B2 deficiency. If you have less than 20 %, you are well supplied.
The right test: A simple standard marker is excretion via the urine. However, if you want to check more values than just your B2 supply, the serum value is a good option because the laboratory can then check many other values with the blood sample.
What foods contain vitamin B2?
A balanced diet that covers your energy requirements usually also covers your B2 needs. If you want to consciously pay attention to your B2 intake, there are various foods that have a particularly high content. Generally contain Whole grain and soy products large amounts of B2. However, they are not on the list because it is a food group and not a single food.
For ethical, ecological and health reasons, I generally recommend a vegan, wholesome dietbut I would like to inform you as comprehensively as possible about riboflavin and also list some animal foods here.
Liver and offal in particular often contain high amounts of vitamins and trace elements. Since the liver in particular also accumulates toxins, you should definitely buy organic or even better Demeter quality if you want to eat liver. The following list consists of good sources of riboflavin:
- Yeast flakes (3 mg per 100 gram)
- Beef liver (2.9 mg per 100 gram)
- Almonds (0.6 mg per 100 gram)
- Mushrooms (0.4 mg per 100 gram)
- Oyster mushrooms (0.3 mg per 100 gram)
- Pumpkin seeds (0.3 mg per 100 gram)
What do vegans and vegetarians need to know about vitamin B2?
According to the DGE, riboflavin is a potentially critical nutrient in a vegan diet.6 So far, studies on riboflavin supply have produced different results. On the one hand, the EPIC-Oxford study, a very large-scale study by Oxford University, came to the conclusion that vegans suffer from a B2 deficiency just as often as vegetarians and people on a mixed diet.7
This contrasts with the results of a study by the Institute of Food Science at the University of Hanover. The study examined vegans within Germany and came to the conclusion that, on average, too few Calcium, Iodine, Vitamin B12 and riboflavin were included. Therefore, in the study recommended to ensure the intake of these nutrients through a dietary supplement.8
Should vitamin B2 be supplemented?
As you can see, the studies on the B2 supply are divided. Of course, this is mainly due to the fact that there is no "one vegan diet". You can eat a balanced and healthy vegan diet and then you probably won't need a dietary supplement. On the other hand, there is a vegan diet with lots of industrially processed products, sugar, alcohol and little fruit and vegetables. So of course it's no wonder if you suffer from a nutrient deficiency.
If you are unsure about your nutrient supply, it may be that a dietary supplement can be useful. Often the Calmingthat you are covered, wonders. As there is no risk of overdosing when supplementing B2, you can't really go wrong.
There are few isolated preparations of vitamin B2. It is often a component of vitamin B complexes or multi-nutrient preparations. If you are looking for a Multi-nutrient preparation I can offer you the Vivo Life especially for vegan nutrition produced supplement can be recommended. Alternatively, you can also use a Vitamin B Complex be useful, since many B vitamins influence each other:
Ensure riboflavin supply
Regardless of whether you eat a vegan, vegetarian or mixed diet: if you eat a balanced diet that meets your energy requirements, a riboflavin deficiency should not occur. However, there is no harm in eating regularly, regardless of the type of diet check your blood values to detect any deficiencies at an early stage before they manifest themselves as symptoms.
Through a rich Nutrition without substitute productsregular exercise and fresh air, as well as avoiding environmental toxins, cigarettes and alcohol, you can prevent an incredible number of deficiencies and Prevent diseases. A dietary supplement can be useful for riboflavin if you want to be on the safe side.
Do you have any questions or suggestions about this article on vitamin B2? Then please leave me a comment!
All the best,
1 German Nutrition Society: Riboflavin, https://www.dge.de/wissenschaft/referenzwerte/riboflavin/?L=0. [07.06.2021].
2 Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B 6, folates, vitamin B 12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23193625/, [07.06.2021].
3 Wikipedia: Riboflavin, https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riboflavin, [07.06.2021].
4 N. Rittenau (2018): Goodbye vegan cliché! Scientific answers to critical questions about vegan nutrition. VENTIL-Verlag.
5 J. Schoenen, J. Jacquy, M. Lenaerts: Effectiveness of high dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis. A randomized controlled trial, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/13748016_Effectiveness_of_high-dose_riboflavin_in_migraine_prophylaxis_A_randomized_controlled_trial, [07.06.2021].
6 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V.: Position of the German Nutrition Society - vegan nutrition,
https://www.dge.de/wissenschaft/weitere-publikationen/dge-position/vegane-ernaehrung/?L=0. [07 JUN 2021].
7 G. K. Davey, E. A. Spencer, P. N. Appleby, N. E. Allen, et al. (2003): EPIC-Oxford: lifestyle characteristics and nutrient intakes in a cohort of 33 883 meat-eaters and 31 546 non-meat-eaters in the UK, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12740075/, [07.06.2021].
8 A. Waldmann, J. W. Koschizke, C. Leitzmann, A. Hahn: Dietary intakes and lifestyle factors of a vegan population in Germany: results from the German Vegan Study, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/10646504_Waldmann_A_Koschizke_JW_Leitzmann_C_Hahn_A_Dietary_intakes_and_lifestyle_factors_of_a_vegan_population_in_Germany_results_from_the_German_Vegan_Study_Eur_J_Clin_Nutr_57_947-955, [07.06.2021].