Vitamin B 2

The best sources and signs of deficiency

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The major functions of vitamin B 2 are energy production and the release of energy from the food we eat.  It is also responsible for many aspects of metabolism including the breakdown and use of fatty acids, protein breakdown and usage and the regulation of certain neurotransmitters.

The symptoms of possible vitamin B 2 deficiency are:

  • Fatigue and inability to work
  • Sluggishness
  • Lack of stamina
  • Dizziness
  • Oily or scaly moist skin
  • Eczema, especially around the mouth, ears, hairline, nose, behind the ears and forehead
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Burning sensation in the eyes or sensation of grit under the eyelids
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Night blindness
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Hair loss or dull, oily hair

The body is not able to easily store vitamin B2 and so it needs to be gained from the food we eat.  Daily requirements are decided by the amount of energy we burn.  The more active we are, the more energy we burn, the more vitamin B2 we need.

Good food sources of Vitamin B2 are:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Brewers yeast
  • Organ meats such as liver, kidney or heart
  • Meats - although not as high in poultry, except duck
  • Clams
  • Squid
  • Fish
  • Soya Milk
  • Soya beans
  • Avocado

Cereals and grains are poor sources of vitamin B2

This vitamin is destroyed by light, antibiotics and alcohol.

The following contribute to deficiency and increase needs for vitamin B2:

  • Alcohol
  • Stimulants such as coffee, tea and smoking
  • Contraceptive pill
  • Tranquillisers
  • Diabetes - due to excessive urination
  • Anorexia
  • Rigorous exercise
  • Physical injury or surgery

If you are considering taking a vitamin B2 supplement it should be noted that too much (over 50 milligrams per day) over a long period may lead to cataracts and other eyesight related problems.

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