Vitamin B2, like all B vitamins, has an important role in producing energy for the body. Vitamin B2, commonly referred to as riboflavin, helps the body convert food, such as carbohydrates, into fuel or glucose, which provides us with energy. It also aids the body in metabolizing fats and proteins.
Additionally, riboflavin acts as an antioxidant to fight the damaging particles in the body known as free radicals. These free radicals can impair cells and DNA, which may contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health conditions, such as heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants, such as riboflavin, have a potential health benefit by fighting free radicals and preventing some of the damage they may cause.
Vitamin B2 also helps the body change vitamin B6 and folate into useful forms. Moreover, it is important for growth, reproduction, and plays a role in vision.
The Primary Sources of Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2 is found in animal products such as offal (liver, kidneys, heart), eggs, meat, milk, yogurt, and cheeses while other sources include whole grain cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, and brewer’s yeast.
Bioavailability of Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2 from foods is highly available; bile salts, which are released when we consume fats, increase the rate of absorption of vitamin B2. Vitamin B2 is sensitive to light but remains stable under heat and refrigeration. The milling process reduces the content of vitamin B2 in cereal grains.
Risks Related to Inadequate Intake of Vitamin B2
Individuals whose food intake relies primarily on refined cereals from the elderly and chronic dieters to individuals who exclude milk products from their diet are at risk for inadequate intakes. Vitamin B2 requirements are increased during periods of strong growth, such as in pregnancy and lactation. Vitamin B2 deficiency co-occurs with other nutrient deficiencies and it may precipitate deficiencies in vitamin B6 and niacin. People with cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer are at risk for vitamin B2 deficiency.
Enjoy this recipe for your next dinner…
Liver and Bacon Sauté with Potatoes*
400g new potato
2 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions trimmed and cut into 2-3 pieces on the diagonal
4 rashers of unsmoked bacon cut into pieces
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp paprika
155g lamb’s liver, sliced into thin stripes
150ml hot vegetable stock
4 tbsp creme fraiche
Start by cutting the potatoes in half and simmer in salted water for 12-15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Next, heat the oil in a wok and add the potatoes. Fry them for 4-5 minutes over a high heat until browned and crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Then tip the spring onions and bacon into the pan and stir and sizzle for 3-4 minutes or until the bacon gets crispy. Meanwhile, season the flour with paprika, a little salt and plenty of black pepper and use the mixture to coat the liver.
Stir the liver into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Toss in the potatoes and quickly reheat. Remove everything from the pan and divide between 2 plates. Keep warm.
For the finishing touches, quickly pour the hot vegetable stock into the pan and scrape all the crispy bits up from the bottom. Let it bubble for 1-2 minutes, then pour around the liver and potatoes. Serve each portion topped with creme Fraiche and a sprinkling of paprika.