Vitamin B2 is now called riboflavin. This is one of the most widely distributed water-soluble vitamins in the body. As a co-enzyme, it is important in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Like other nutrients, it participates in the formation of red blood cells and antibodies, and is good for healthy eyes, hair, skin and nails.
Another way that it acts is to help in the conversion of B6 and folic acid into their more active forms. It is also necessary for the normal metabolism of iron and niacin in the body.
There are important antioxidant enzyme systems that depend on riboflavin for their activity: glutathione reductase and xanthine oxidase.
Good sources of the vitamin are spinach, almonds, milk and eggs and, of course, B Complex formulas and good multivitamin formulas.
One interesting thing about riboflavin is that if you take a multivitamin with riboflavin, sometimes your urine will turn a bright, almost fluorescent green-yellow. This is from the riboflavin.
Certain conditions may impair the conversion of the vitamin into its active forms: hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency. Highly active people, such as athletes and people who do extremely physically-demanding work, have a higher requirement for the vitamin.
Some people are more at risk for a deficiency of this vitamin: alcoholics, anorexics, and people who do not consume foods which are good sources of the vitamin. Individuals over 50 years of age especially need the vitamin for their eye health.