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Vitamin B2 may improve blood health

September 7, 2011

According to a new study from the UK, riboflavin supplementation may increase hemoglobin levels.

In the randomized controlled trial, 119 women aged between 19 and 25 with moderate riboflavin deficiency were randomly given either 2 or 4 mg of riboflavin or a placebo over the course of two months (1). Study results showed that both riboflavin groups displayed improvements in riboflavin status, with the higher dose producing a greater increase. An increase in hemoglobin concentration and red blood cell count was observed in women who received supplemental riboflavin. Dietary iron intake and iron absorption did not change during the study.

The researchers commented that riboflavin seems to play a role in iron metabolism. The mechanisms by which riboflavin status influences blood status are, however, uncertain. Earlier studies reported a deficiency of iron-containing hemoglobin ( anemia) associated with acute riboflavin deficiency.

Dietary riboflavin is present in liver, egg yolk, milk, and meat. It is also used to fortify various food products such as bread and breakfast cereals. Vitamin B2 deficiency is not only common in developing countries, but also reported to be common among the elderly and young adults in some industrialized nations.

References

  1. Powers H. J. et al. Correcting a marginal riboflavin deficiency improves hematologic status in young women in the United Kingdom (RIBOFEM). American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011; 93 (6):1274–1284.