Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is water soluble and required for a large number of cellular processes, including oxidation-reduction reactions (redox) responsible for energy production, metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and ketone bodies.
It’s also solely responsible for the fluorescent-yellow color in urine of people who supplement with high dose B-complex vitamins.
Vitamin B2 is an integral component of the coenzymes, flavin, adenine, and dinucleotide (FAD) and the flavin mononucleotide (FMN).
Enzymes that are vitamin B2 dependent are called flavoproteins.
FAD-dependent enzymes participate in the redox cycle of glutathione (the master antioxidant) and play a major role in protecting organisms from highly reactive oxygen-containing chemicals that react easily with other molecules, resulting in cellular damage, particularly in the eye. These destructive molecules are called reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Riboflavin (B2) Deficiency
Because the vitamin B2-dependent enzymes, flavoproteins, are involved in the metabolism of other B vitamins, including vitamin B6, niacin, and folic acid, B2 deficiency can affect many enzyme systems.
Ariboflavinosis is the clinical name for vitamin B2 deficiency.
It’s rarely found in isolation and occurs frequently in combination with deficiencies of other water-soluble vitamins.
Symptoms can include sore throat, redness and swelling of the lining of the mouth and throat, cracks or sores on the outside of the lips and corners of the mouth, inflammation and redness of the tongue, and moist scaly skin particularly affecting the scrotum or labia majora and the nasolabial folds.
Riboflavin (B2) and Eye Health
B2 deficiency is linked to formation of blood vessels in the clear covering of the eye (vascularization of the cornea).
Age-related cataract has also proven to increase in those who are vitamin B2 deficient. One Australian study of both men and women suggested that there is a 50 percent reduction in the incidence of of age-related cataracts in those with the highest riboflavin intake.
Concentrated riboflavin (vitamin B2) topical eye drops and ultraviolet light exposure are now being used by skilled doctors to enhance crosslinking and treat patients with progressive keratoconus.
Don’t miss reading a new Spencer Thornton, MD, article on riboflavin and cornea collagen crosslinking in the latest edition of US Ophthalmic Review,* the beautiful peer-reviewed London-based journal published by Touch Ophthalmology.
For those of you who might be concerned about a possible connection between riboflavin, sun, and skin health as I was, supplemental B2 does not increase wrinkle-producing epidermal crosslinking due to the natural thermodynamics of dissolution associated with water-soluble vitamin B2 in the body.
Riboflavin has also been used in a number of studies to address the impaired mitochondrial oxygen metabolism in the brain linked to chronic migraine headaches. Although the findings are preliminary, data suggest that riboflavin supplementation might be a useful therapy in migraine prevention.
Riboflavin (B2) Food Sources
Fortified cereals, milk, cheese, eggs, almonds, salmon, chicken, beef, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, and fortified breads.
Given that fewer than 10 percent of the U.S. public consume five total servings of fruits and vegetables per day (the most recent recommendation is nine to 13 servings per day to meet RDA of most vitamins and minerals), riboflavin (B2) supplementation as part of a B-vitamin complex, or in a full-spectrum multiple is always recommended.
Riboflavin (B2) Safety
According to the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine, no toxic or adverse effects of high supplemental riboflavin intake in humans are known.
PEARL: Riboflavin, like the other B vitamins, plays an important role in overall body health. This is a classic example of why we at Biosyntrx prefer to recommend supplementation with a full-spectrum multiple vitamin designed to address the symphonic relationship between vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Nutritional metabolic performance is brilliant and more productive when all the players show up.
The two Biosyntrx full-spectrum multiples, Macula Complete and Oculair, include 10 mg of vitamin B2 in each recommended daily dose.
References for this article plus a surgical instrument announcement from our friends at Crestpoint Management can be found following today’s Pearl.
* Spencer Thornton, MD, and two of the Biosyntrx scientific advisory board members are on the prestigious Touch Ophthalmology, US Ophthalmic Review editorial board: Richard Lindstrom, MD, and Roger Steinert, MD. All three are former presidents of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery (ASCRS).