What is vitamin B2?

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Elizabeth Casparro, MPH,RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is an essential water-soluble nutrient that forms part of two coenzymes (aka enzyme helpers). These coenzymes are required in reactions that extract energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. A riboflavin deficiency leads to tongue swelling, cracks/sores on the outer lips, dry scaly skin, eye disorder, throat disorder and nervous system disorder. Luckily, it can be found in many food products: dairy products, enriched grains, liver, oysters and brewer's yeast. It is sensitive to sunlight, so be sure to store these foods in paper, opaque containers.

Vitamin B2 is also called riboflavin. It can be bought over the counter or prescribed to you by a doctor. It promotes cell function, metabolism and growth, making it a very important nutrient. It is found in many foods, and most people who eat a healthy diet will not need to take a B2 supplement. Ask your doctor if you are worried that you are not receiving enough vitamin B2 through your diet alone.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.