Last month, we learned about thiamin, but also about the B vitamins as a group. Remember, the B vitamins work together in unison to help metabolize our nutrients. As we know, thiamin is a B vitamin, but how many others can you name? Okay, how many can you name besides B6 and B12? ;) Hint: there are EIGHT of them. B vitamins also include: riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, biotin, and vitamin B12. Today, let's tackle riboflavin (or vitamin B2).

Like thaimin, riboflavin's chief function is to assist in energy metabolism. Riboflavin is an essential component of two of our body's major coenzymes. (For those who don't now what a coenzyme is, it's a compound that helps an enzyme to function.) While that might not sound like a big deal, it is; riboflavin helps us with energy production, cellular growth/development, homocysteine regulation, and metabolism of fats, drugs and steroids.

What if we don't get enough? Riboflavin deficiency (or ariboflavinosis) can show up in a number of ways: cracks at the corners of the mouth, a painful purplish tongue, sore throat, inflamed eyes, skin problems, hair loss, reproductive problems, liver and nervous system problems, and a sensitivity to light. Fortunately, deficiencies are rare in the US - our high consumption of meat and and fortified cereals more than covers us.

The DRI recommended amounts are 1.3 mg/day for men and 1.1 mg/day for women. That means a bowl of oatmeal or enriched cereal, or a chicken and vegetable stir-fry should do the trick. And if you like liver, you're in luck - it's a great source of riboflavin, too. Liver and onions, anyone? Leafy greens, mushrooms, yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk also give us the B2 we need. Add this carnitas taco recipe to your rotation. Vegan? No problem, try this breakfast bowl or this vegan mac and cheese.

Be well, everyone!

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