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Vitamin B2 Riboflavin
Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, regulates red blood cell growth and helps maintain a strong immune system by protecting the body from free-radical damage. Riboflavin also promotes healthy hair, skin, nails, and vision.
Without riboflavin, the other B vitamins, especially niacin (vitamin B3) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6), cannot do their job, and a host of chemical processes necessary to keep the body alive would come to a grinding halt.
You also need riboflavin to produce flavin mononucleotide and flavin adenine dinucleotide, two enzymes that help the body convert fats, carbohydrates, and proteins into energy. Without enough riboflavin, these two enzymes are unable to work together to ensure your cells can both reproduce correctly and supply the body with the fuel it needs stay alive.
Vitamin B2 is important to other chemical processes in the body as well. Folate (a naturally occurring form of folic acid) and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) are transformed by riboflavin into the neurotransmitters crucial for thinking and memory. In fact, people with high levels of riboflavin have been shown to perform better on memory tests.
The best source of riboflavin is milk and there's enough riboflavin in a quart of milk to supply the daily needs of most people. Of course, most of us don't consume a quart of milk each day.
Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin, and although small amounts of it are stored in your kidneys and liver, Vitamin B2 must, nevertheless, be replaced daily, as the bulk of it is eliminated from the body through urination, exercise, sweating, etc. This, of course, is a further rationalisation for taking supplemental doses of Vitamin B2, aka riboflavin
Though riboflavin deficiencies are rare, those that take oral contraceptives or regularly consume alcohol may want to supplement this vitamin, as these substances decrease the amount of riboflavin your body is able to absorb. Also, the elderly, those who perform regular strenuous exercise, diabetics, and the lactose intolerant may not be able to absorb enough riboflavin from their diet to meet their needs, and may want to consider taking extra riboflavin.
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