Riboflavin: Learn All About Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin, is one of the most important vitamins of the B group. Vit B2 also plays a very important role in helping the body to use other nutrients for energy production, such as Vit B6 and Folate. While it is found in small amounts across a vast range of food groups, it is degraded by UV light. This means that any foods exposed to sunlight will contian lower levels of B2. Cooking only slightly reduces the B2 content of food as riboflavin is generally quite resistant to both the heating and refrigeration process.
Vitamin B2 helps the body to break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins to produce energy. It helps with the production of red blood cells and thyroid hormones. It is also essential for healthy skin, hair, nails and mucous membranes.
Vitamin B2 can be found naturally in a number of food sources such as green leafy vegetables (especially broccoli), whole grains, breads, cereals, almonds, soy beans, eggs, yoghurts, liver, kidney, fish and poultry. Riboflavin is sometimes added to salad dressings, confectionery and powdered drinks.
RDI (Recommended Daily Intake)
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B2; as with many vitamins from the B group , varies for men and women. The RDI for men is 1.3-1.7mg and women should try to achieve a daily dose of 1.0-1.2mg. Pregnant Women require a slightly higher daily dose of 1.3-1.5mg.
Food Portion Guide
It is easy to ensure you are getting your daily fix of B2 just by including a few leafy green vegetables, some whole grains, eggs, poultry or yoghurt. For example, just 200g of natural yoghurt can supply up to 0.8mg of riboflavin, which is at least half of the RDI. One cup of broccoli will supply up to 15% of your RDI.
Possible Symptoms of Deficiency
B2 is continuously excreted in the urine each day, so if your daily intake is insufficient, deficiency may occur quite easily. People who have reduced ability to absorb nutrients in the intestine, such as elderly people and alcoholics are most prone to suffering from B2 deficiency. Reduced Vit B2 levels may cause sensitivity to light and eye problems. The skin may also become oily, scaly, or develop lesions. With B2 deficiency the lips can sometimes develop sores and the tongue may become red, painful and swollen. Dandruff, or even hair loss, may occur in some extreme cases of deficiency.
Possible Side Effects Of Overdose
Riboflavin is water soluble so excess amounts are easily excreted by the body in the urine and overdose is extremely unlikely. A possible reaction to extremely high doses (over100mg) of B2 may include itching, numbness, prickling and burning sensations or increased sensitivity to light.
In developed countries, vitamin B2 is readily available via many natural food sources, is supplemented by the addition of riboflavin into some man-made or processed foods and is also available in many over-the-counter supplements.
If you think you may be suffering from Vitamin B2 deficiency, consult with your local doctor for further advice that is specific to your current health status.