Riboflavin, better known as Vitamin B2, is a vitamin that fulfils a number of vital roles in the human body. Not only is it important in converting protein, fats and carbohydrates into energy, it also helps to repair body tissues.
It is therefore vital that you get sufficient vitamin B2 every day – because it is water soluble, it is not stored in the body, and you must therefore replenish your body’s supplies of Vitamin B2 every day.
So which foods contain Vitamin B2? Fortunately there are plenty of good sources within the diet. These include lean meats, eggs, whole grains, mushrooms, legumes, nuts such as almonds, leafy green vegetables, dairy products such as milk, and yeast extracts.
However, be aware that as riboflavin is destroyed by exposure to light, you should not store foods with riboflavin in glass containers that are exposed to light.
Fortunately, very few people are deficient in riboflavin – it is so plentiful in the food supply that this is rarely a problem. However, the symptoms of riboflavin deficiency include a sore throat, swelling of the mucous membranes, mouth or lip sores, anaemia, and skin disorders.
How much do you need each day?
According to the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine, the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is as follows:
- 0 - 6 months: 0.3 milligrams per day (mg/day)
- 7 - 12 months: 0.4 mg/day
- 1 - 3 years: 0.5 mg/day
- 4 - 8 years: 0.6 mg/day
- 9 - 13 years: 0.9 mg/day
Adolescents and Adults
- Males age 14 and older: 1.3 mg/day
- Females age 14 to 18 years: 1.0 mg/day
- Females age 19 and older: 1.1 mg/day
As with any vitamin or mineral, the best way to get sufficient riboflavin is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods.
Anyone eating a healthy diet that contains at least five portions per day of fruit and vegetables should have no trouble getting sufficient quantities of this vital vitamin.