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Also known as Riboflavin, vitamin B-2 assists in cell function, growth and energy production and is found naturally in a balanced diet 5. As such, dairy products, eggs, grains, and green vegetables are sources of vitamin B-2, though meat is required to ensure adequate consumption 5. Though most healthy people are not deficient in vitamin B-2, those on a diet may need to add additional supplement to gain a sufficient amount of the vitamin 5.
How it Works
According to Stanford University researchers, vitamin B-2 works with coenzymes FAD and FMN, both of which assist in the function of the electron transport chain -- a process that creates energy for the body 45. This process includes FAD and FMN carrying, transforming and transferring electrons throughout the body. When consumed, vitamin B-2 alters these two enzymes, enabling them to perform their energy-producing role in our body 5. Without vitamin B-2, the body can lose energy if the deficiency is severe enough 5.
Vitamin B-2 and Thyroid Regulation
Vitamins That Increase Dopamine
Vitamin B-2 can positively affect weight control in a number of ways, including regulating the thyroid 5. The thyroid is a gland that regulates your metabolism, energy use and weight. As such, a healthy thyroid will help ensure that your weight remains stable and that you are able to engage in the exercise necessary to lose or maintain your current weight. The Environmental Illness Resource notes that vitamin B-2 helps in this way by assisting in the production of T4, the primary hormone produced by the thyroid 25. A vitamin B-2 deficiency can contribute to problems of underactive thyroid, ultimately leading to weight gain and other health problems 5.
Vitamin B-2 and Metabolism
Vitamin B-2 aids in the production of energy by helping to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins, a process that leads to storing energy in muscles 5. According to researchers at Stanford University´s Huntington Outreach Project for Education, B-2 assists in this process through its role in the electron transport chain, which ultimately leads to energy production. Your metabolism impacts the rate, at which you lose weight by regulating how your body creates and burns energy. Consequently, people with lower metabolism can burn calories at a slower pace than those with a higher metabolism.
- Vitamin B-2 aids in the production of energy by helping to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins, a process that leads to storing energy in muscles 5.
- According to researchers at Stanford University´s Huntington Outreach Project for Education, B-2 assists in this process through its role in the electron transport chain, which ultimately leads to energy production.
RDI and Food Sources
Vitamin B5 for Weight Loss
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B-2 is 1.3 milligrams for adult men and 1.1 milligrams for adult women 5. If you are pregnant you need 1.4 milligrams and 1.6 if breastfeeding. If you take a riboflavin or B-2 supplement, the University of Maryland Medical Center notes that it is best absorbed when taken between meals 4. The Linus Pauling Institute reports that some of the best food sources of vitamin B-2 are non-fat milk, almonds, boiled eggs, fortified wheat, boiled spinach and chicken 56. A 1-cup serving of non-fat milk contains 0.29 milligrams of vitamin B-2, or nearly 30 percent of the RDI, while a 3-ounce serving of cooked ground beef contains 0.15 milligrams, or just over 10 percent of the RDI 5.
Vitamin B-2 can interact with medications prescribed for respiratory, bladder, or stomach disorders and cause an increase in vitamin B-2 absorption into the body 5. However, the effects of increased B-2 intake are not known to be detrimental. In contrast, anti-depressants can decrease the amount of B-2 in the body, so supplements may be necessary.
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- HOPES Stanford: Riboflavin
- Environmental Illness Resource: Hypothroidism
- KidsHealth: Metabolism Basics
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-2
- Vitamin Nutrition: Vitamin B-2
- Linus Pauling Institute: Riboflavin
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- American Academy of Dermatology. Position Statement of Vitamin D. 2010.
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- Holick MF, Binkley NC, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, et al. Evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011;96(7):1911-1930. doi:10.1210/jc.2011-0385
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- Carrillo AE1, Flynn MG, Pinkston C, Markofski MM, Jiang Y, Donkin SS, Teegarden D. Impact of Vitamin D Supplementation During a Resistance Training Intervention on Body Composition, Muscle Function, and Glucose Tolerance in Overweight and Obese Adults. Clin Nutr. 2013 Jun;32(3):375-81. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.08.014. Epub 2012 Aug 31.
- Ginde AA, Mansbach JM, Camargo CA, Jr. Association Between Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Level and Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Intern Med. 2009; 169:384-90.
- Giovannucci E, Liu Y, Hollis BW, Rimm EB. 25-hydroxyvitamin D and Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Men: a Prospective Study. Arch Intern Med. 2008; 168:1174-80.
- Gorham ED, Garland CF, Garland FC, Grant WB, Mohr SB, Lipkin M, Newmark HL, Giovannucci E, Wei M, Holick MF. Optimal Vitamin D Status for Colorectal Cancer Prevention: a Quantitative Meta-analysis. Am J Prev Med. 2007 Mar;32(3):210-6.
- Heaney, Robert P. “The Vitamin D Requirement in Health and Disease.” The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 97 (2005):13-9.
- Holick MF. Vitamin D. In: Shils M, Olson J, Shike M, Ross AC, ed. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1999.
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin D: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. University of Ottawa Evidence-based Practice Center. Effectiveness and Safety of Vitamin D in Relation to Bone Health. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Aug 2007: 07-E013.
- Salehpour A1, Hosseinpanah F, Shidfar F, Vafa M, Razaghi M, Dehghani S, Hoshiarrad A, Gohari M. A 12-week Double-blind Randomized Clinical Trial of Vitamin D₃ Supplementation on Body Fat Mass in Healthy Overweight and Obese Women. Nutr J. 2012 Sep 22;11:78. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-78.
- Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, Kurihara M, Wada Y, Ida H. Randomized Trial of Vitamin D Supplementation to Prevent Seasonal Influenza A in Schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 91:1255-60. Epub 2010 Mar 10.
- Wilkins, Consuelo H. and Yvette I. Sheline, et al. “Vitamin D Deficiency Is Associated with Low Mood and Worse Cognitive Performance in Older Adults.” American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 14 (2006): 1032-40.
Based in Los Angeles, Calif., Kiki Michelle has been writing health-related articles since 2007. Her work has appeared in "Environmental Science and Technology Magazine." Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in human biology from Stanford University.