Vitamin B2, also commonly called riboflavin, is an essential nutrient that helps maintain physiological processes such as energy production. It is available in food and as a supplement, and researchers have conducted studies to determine the specific health benefits associated with vitamin B2. This article describes numerous health benefits that vitamin B2 can provide, including helping to prevent cancer, migraine treatment, and protection from eye damage.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, vitamin B2, also called riboflavin, is present in foods and supplements. This vitamin, which occurs in relatively high amounts in cereals, yogurt, Swiss cheese, milk, beef, almonds, chicken, eggs, spinach, and mushrooms, is involved with the body’s metabolic functioning, energy creation, growth, and cellular activity. People take vitamin B2 as a supplement for various health reasons, and the research has shown that it is effective.
Vitamin B2 for Cancer Prevention
Research has shown that vitamin B2 can help prevent specific types of cancer. A 2015 report authored by researchers from Shantou University Medical College and the University of South Australia and published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention assessed the results of eight different studies concerned with the relationship between vitamin B2 and colorectal cancer. The combined results indicated that compared to people who consumed the least vitamin B2, those who consumed the most were 17 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer. Vitamin B2 appears to protect the body from this type of cancer.
Migraines Treated with Vitamin B2
The researchers have known for quite some time that vitamin B2 is an effective treatment for migraines. A study in a 1998 edition of the journal Neurology compared the effects of vitamin B2 to those of a placebo on individuals suffering from migraines. The study’s research team, led by a doctor from the University of Liege in Belgium, discovered that compared to the placebo, vitamin B2 was significantly more effective in reducing the occurrence of migraines and the number of days during which patients experienced headaches. Based on this research, vitamin B2 is a simple treatment for migraines, and it eliminates the need for costly prescription drugs.
Riboflavin and Blood Pressure
When combined with blood pressure medication, vitamin B2 can help reduce blood pressure among certain individuals who are not completely responsive to medication alone. A 2013 study conducted by Irish researchers and published in the journal Hypertension compared the impact of vitamin B2 to a placebo among individuals with high blood pressure. Individuals in the study took either vitamin B2 or a placebo alongside their regular medications. Study results showed that those taking the vitamin B2 experienced a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure when compared to those receiving the placebo treatment. Vitamin B2 could, therefore, be useful as an additive treatment for those with high blood pressure, as it could improve outcomes better than prescription drugs alone.
Riboflavin for Vision
Some research has suggested that vitamin B2 can have a beneficial impact on the health of the eyes and therefore on vision. A 2005 study sponsored by The American Medical Association and published in the Archives of Ophthalmology found that higher intakes of vitamin B2 were linked to less eye damage over time. Taking a vitamin B2 supplement could perhaps help keep the eyes healthy and prevent age-related vision loss.
Vitamin B2 and the Athlete
Vitamin B2 is essential for athletes, given its involvement in metabolism and energy production, and the research has shown that a lack of vitamin B2 could hinder athletic performance. A 1994 study, which was authored by researchers from TNO Nutrition and Food Research in the Netherlands and published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, found that when athletes consumed low amounts of vitamin B2, vitamin B1, and vitamin B6, performance-related factors such as aerobic power and oxygen consumption decreased. These findings suggest that adequate intake of the B vitamins, including vitamin B2, is essential for optimal athletic performance.
Vitamin B2 is beneficial not only for athletes but also for individuals suffering from a variety of health conditions. As the research shows, vitamin B2 can help reduce blood pressure, preserve vision, and relieve migraines. It also appears to be effective for cancer prevention. Those who suffer from any of these specific medical conditions or who are at high risk for cancer or vision loss would benefit from vitamin B2 supplementation. Because vitamin B2 is also associated with important bodily processes, such as metabolism, energy production, and cellular activity, most people would benefit from taking a supplement to ensure they are consuming adequate quantities of this essential vitamin. Given the fact that vitamin B2 is found in high amounts in meat, eggs, and cheese, individuals following a vegan or vegetarian diet would also be wise to add a vitamin B2 supplement to their diets.
Vitamin B2 demonstrates antioxidant effects and is therefore useful for combating oxidative stress. In a 2014 report in the British Journal of Nutrition, scientists from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences reviewed the body of research with vitamin B2 and concluded that it has antioxidant properties and could prevent oxidative stress by playing a part in a physiological process called the glutathione redox cycle.
Vitamin B2, also commonly called riboflavin, is an essential nutrient that maintains physiological processes such as energy production. It is available in food and as a supplement, and researchers have conducted studies to determine the specific health benefits associated with vitamin B2. This article describes numerous health benefits that vitamin B2 can provide, including cancer prevention, migraine treatment, and protection from eye damage.