Riboflavin or vitamin B2 is a water-soluble vitamin, which possesses strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory property. It plays various important roles in the body, which include;
- Riboflavin improves energy levels
- It reduces inflammation and oxidative stress
- It promotes healthy skin
- It fights headaches
- It improves blood glucose levels
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Deficiency Symptoms
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Deficiency Symptoms include:
- Anemia (interfere iron absorption)
- Blurred vision
- Itching in eyes
- Watery eyes
- Eye fatigue
- Eye’s increased sensitivity toward light
- Night blindness
- Peripheral neuropathy
- cracked corners of the mouth
- Skin cracking
- Swollen tongue
- Throat soreness
Here is a details of major health effects and deficiency symptoms of riboflavin:
A deficiency in riboflavin promotes the activity of pro-inflammatory compounds, which creates an environment favorable for the onset of diseases.
In the absence of this B-complex vitamin, the generation of reactive oxygen species goes high, which damages the healthy cells and increases the risk of various diseases and disorders.
Therefore, it is very important to get your daily dose of riboflavin, in order to suppress the production of inflammatory compounds and to keep diseases and disorders at bay. (1)
A State of Exhaustion
Riboflavin plays a crucial role in the production of energy. Research has found that insufficiency of riboflavin significantly down regulates expression of enzymes involved in the break-down of carbohydrates, proteins and fat into energy. Hence, it becomes difficult to convert the food you eat into energy.
The capacity of energy generation is drastically decreased after deficiency of riboflavin. Such a person may end up feeling tired and weak all the time. Such low energy levels even affect the overall quality of life. Thus, it is important to load your diet with rich food sources of riboflavin. (2)
Delayed Wound Healing
Riboflavin is required by the body for wound healing, but this action is delayed in the absence of riboflavin. Insufficiency of riboflavin slows down the rate of wound contraction and delays wound healing.
Research has found that riboflavin plays a vital role in maintaining the level of collagen, a skin protein. Collagen helps in tissue growth and hastens wound repair.
A low level of riboflavin also affects collagen production, which in turn has a negative impact on the wound repair process. Along with a high protein diet, a good intake of riboflavin rich foods is necessary during wound healing. (3)
Impact on Diabetes Mellitus
A deficiency of riboflavin has been observed in children with type 2 diabetes as compared to healthy children. Oxidative stress plays a pathogenic role in the onset of diabetic complications.
In the absence of riboflavin, the level of natural antioxidants in the body goes down and thus, the body is unable to fight oxidative stress.
Correcting riboflavin deficiency can quickly restore natural antioxidants in the body, which can in turn protect the body and delay the onset of diabetic complications. (4)
Increases the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
Riboflavin has a neuro-protective potential, which prevents or delays Parkinson’s disease. Deficiency of riboflavin has a huge negative impact on neurological health. This B-complex vitamin protects the brain cells against free radical attack and inflammation and thus, it prevents death of brain cells.
As human brain is highly susceptible to oxidative damage, it requires natural antioxidants to fight against it.
Riboflavin enhances the production of antioxidants in the body that protect the brain. Moreover, riboflavin inhibits the release of inflammatory compounds and protects the brain cells against destruction.
An improvement in the motor capacity was observed in a study, when individuals with Parkinson’s disease consumed riboflavin supplements along with their usual treatment. (5)
It has been shown that riboflavin is beneficial for individuals with migraine headaches. Riboflavin reduces the severity, duration and intensity of migraine attacks.
A high level of homocysteine in the blood is associated with migraine headaches. Riboflavin reduces migraine attacks by lowering the level of homocysteine.
Individuals with riboflavin deficiency are unable to fight against migraine headaches. Such individuals must add rich sources of riboflavin to their diet regularly. (6)