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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > April 2016 > Why We Need… Vitamin B2

Why We Need… Vitamin B2

Part of the B group of vitamins, vitamin B2 (or riboflavin) is important for PRODUCING ENERGY and is needed for ENSURING OUR NERVOUS SYSTEM WORKS properly. It’s also essential for healthy EYESIGHT, SKIN and RED BLOOD CELLS, and can help prevent us feeling tired.

Juliette Kellow HFG DIETITIAN

What happens if I don’t get enough?

THE MOST OBVIOUS SIGNS of a vitamin B2 deficiency are skin problems, especially scaly, dry and flaky patches around the nose and cracks around the mouth. Some people also experience a sore tongue and have bloodshot eyes that feel as though they have grit in them. Riboflavin is one of the few B vitamins that certain groups of people have low intakes of – in particular, teenagers (21% of 11 to 18-year-old girls and 9% of 11 to 18-year-old boys have exceptionally low intakes, putting them at risk of a deficiency). In adults, 12% of women and 5% of men fail to get enough vitamin B2 in their diets. Fortunately, though, a full-blown deficiency is rare as the body is very good at conserving and re-using its store of this nutrient (see right for the main sources of vitamin B2).

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About Healthy Food Guide

This month our experts and dietitians report on research that shows better sleep aids weight loss (and share diet tips for quality slumber), reveal what they feed their own kids, and give advice on spotting the signs of bowel cancer. We also investigate claims that the 8–week Blood Sugar diet can reverse type 2 diabetes, plus dish up a host of healthier spring eats…
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