Vitamin B2: Role, Sources and Deficiency

What is Vitamin B2?

Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is a vitamin that’s essential for your body. And while B2 is produced in the large intestine by some gut bacteria, the body cannot produce this vitamin on its own, and there are still recommended daily allowances.


You can find vitamin B2 in a number of plant-based foods, including:


  • Cereals
  • Grain products
  • Breads
  • Broccoli
  • Collard greens
  • Turnips
  • Dry Roasted Almonds
  • Raw Spinach


Also important to note is that, like the other B vitamins, riboflavin is water-soluble. This means that your body doesn’t store it the same way it would a fat-soluble vitamin. Once absorbed, fat-soluble vitamins are easily stored in the body’s fat tissue while water-soluble vitamins are not stored in fat, but tend to be washed out of the body relatively quickly.


As a water-soluble vitamin, B2 is not stored in the body in large amounts. As such, it may be important, particularly if you fall into the categories of those more prone to B2 deficiency, to pay attention to your intake of this vitamin through either food or supplements to help ensure you don’t become deficient. 


Can You Get All The B2 You Need From Food?

Eating a few servings of these foods each day may help you meet your daily vitamin B2 needs. In addition, a supplement that contains vitamin B2 may be what you need to help fill in the gaps in your diet, especially on busier days when your meals may not be as nutrient-dense.


Supplements should never be used to replace a healthy diet, but they can be complementary to the foods you eat. A combination of supplements and nutrient-dense foods can help to provide you with the nutrients you need on a daily basis.


B-Complex Vitamins

Vitamin B2 is part of a group of eight B vitamins. Known as B-complex vitamins, each of these nutrients is water-soluble, and the majority of them can be found in plant-based foods. However, one exception is vitamin B12, which is only found in animal products, and some fermented foods. While many vegans get their daily requirements for other B vitamins met by food, some may find it to be helpful to take a plant-based B12 supplement to support their body’s B12 levels.


The B-complex vitamins are:


  • B1 (thiamine)
  • B2 (riboflavin)
  • B3 (niacin)
  • B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • B6 (pyridoxine)
  • B7 (biotin)
  • B9 (folic acid)
  • B12 (cobalamin)


Each of these vitamins serves a variety of different purposes within your body. Getting enough of each is important for everyone, but it has been suggested that vegans may need to pay special attention to their B12 intake. B12 is an essential nutrient for cognitive functioning. A B12 deficiency may develop if a someone does not get enough B-complex vitamins through their diet or supplements, and this deficiency can lead to symptoms like dizziness, confusion, difficulty moving, and more.


Making sure that you are getting enough of all of the B-complex vitamins can support you in good health, and help to potentially avoid deficiencies. For this reason, it’s a great idea to take a multivitamin that includes all B vitamins, not just B2. MaryRuth’s liquid multivitamins contain the B-complex vitamins you may need, as well as vegan-friendly vitamin C, vitamin D3, vitamin A, vitamin E, and more.


How Much Vitamin B2 Do You Need?

The recommended intakes for vitamin B2 for adults is 1.3 milligrams for men and 1.1 milligrams for women per day. Through a combination of a nutrient-dense diet and a high-quality multivitamin, this daily requirement could be relatively easy to reach.




The Role of B2 For Your Health

Vitamin B2 is an essential nutrient for your health for multiple reasons. Below are just some of the many important purposes that this B-complex vitamin serves in your body.


  • Vitamin B2 helps you get energy from the food you eat. When you eat macronutrients – carbohydrates, fat, and protein – your body needs vitamin B2 to break these nutrients down and get energy and nourishment from them. B2 also helps your body turn carbohydrates into ATP, a compound that is essential to produce energy in the body. Eating enough healthy, complex carbohydrates each day may help your body produce ATP.


  • Vitamin B2 supports your immune system. Vitamin B2 plays a role in supporting your immune system by activating phagocytic activity of neutrophils and macrophages which tells your immune cells to find and eat the pathogens.


  • Vitamin B2 helps your body absorb iron. Lack of iron or insufficient iron absorption can be an especially problematic form of nutrient deficiency. If your body isn’t getting enough vitamin B2, your iron absorption may be inhibited, which can lead to the development of symptoms like anemia.


Signs of a B2 Deficiency

Vitamin B2 deficiency is rare in the US, however if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you might want to talk to your doctor about the possibility of a B2 deficiency. Many of these symptoms can be caused by a variety of factors, but a lack of B2 intake or absorption is a possible cause. Your doctor can assess your micronutrient levels to determine whether your symptoms can be prevented by increasing your B2 intake with food or supplements.


  • B2 deficiency may also cause dry, cracked, and irritated skin.


  • Your tongue may become inflamed and sore if your B2 levels are too low.


  • Mouth ulcers can possibly develop due to B2 deficiency. However, ulcers can also be caused by a variety of other factors as well. If a mouth ulcer is the only symptom you are experiencing that is associated with lack of B2, make sure to talk to your doctor before concluding that you have a B2 deficiency.


The two things that may lead to a vitamin B2 deficiency are lack of B2 intake or endocrine abnormalities. If your deficiency is due to a lack of proper B2 intake, your symptoms might go away as your body starts getting enough B2 again.


How To Get Enough B2

Two great ways to get adequate amounts of B2 in your diet are through healthy, nutrient-dense foods and high-quality supplements. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and other plant-based foods can provide you with vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients that you need to stay healthy, including plenty of B2. In addition, a multivitamin that contains B2 can make an excellent addition to a well-balanced plant-based diet.


MaryRuth’s Liquid Multivitamins Are a Great Source of B2

Our liquid multivitamins make a great addition to your diet and may help to support you in meeting your daily nutritional needs.


  • MaryRuth’s liquid multivitamins taste fantastic, and are not based in sucrose or fructose. That means you can support your B2 needs without adding any unwanted sugars or unnecessary ingredients into your diet. The base of our formula is plant-derived glycerin, which adds sweetness and pairs well with the fantastic fruity flavors that appeal to kids and adults alike.


  • Our liquid multivitamins may be suitable for your whole family. If you are looking for a supplement that every member of your family may be able to take, our multis might be a great choice. Thanks to the easy-to-take formula we created, even your little ones who might struggle with pills or capsules can easily support their bodies with what they might need. We do suggest checking with your pediatrician or healthcare professional first.


  • MaryRuth’s liquid multis contain vegan-friendly B12. All B-complex vitamins are essential for your body, not just B2. Vitamin B12 is one of the toughest nutrients for vegans to get from food – with the exception of fortified grains and a few fermented foods, B12 is only found in animal products. The vegan-friendly B12 in our formula makes it easy for anyone eating a plant-based diet to support their needs for this important nutrient without the need for any animal-derived ingredients.


  • Our liquid multivitamin can be paired with our liquid nighttime multimineral to further support your nutrition. We designed our liquid multivitamin to be taken first thing in the morning, paired with a dose of our delicious nighttime multimineral at night. Our multimineral blend gives you magnesium, calcium, vitamin D3, and a wide range of other important minerals and nutrients. 


You can find MaryRuth’s liquid multivitamin here and our nighttime multimineral here. In addition, you can visit our blog to read more about taking care of your body with food, supplements, and other healthy habits.



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