In a nutshell
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
Riboflavin or Vitamin B2 is a nutrient that is involved in a huge number of vital cellular processes and plays a crucial role in energy metabolism (breaking down and transforming the foods we eat into energy). It is also essential for growth and healing. Riboflavin is well known for its antioxidant benefits, as well. Like other B vitamins, Vitamin B2 is water soluble, meaning it is not stored in large amounts in the body, so it must be obtained regularly through the diet.
Riboflavin health benefits
Riboflavin has been shown to help in the prevention of cataracts. It may also be useful for reducing the occurrence, severity, and duration of symptoms of migraine headaches. This nutrient can help to improve iron absorption for those who suffer from anemia. Studies show the effectiveness of riboflavin in eradicating harmful microorganisms from the blood when combined with a form of UV light therapy. Riboflavin is well known for its antioxidant benefits, as well.
Vitamin B2 deficiency
Ariboflavinosis is the term given to riboflavin deficiency. Deficiency does not occur alone. It is more frequently found in combination with a lack of other water-soluble vitamins, which may occur in those with eating disorders or other health conditions. Those who are deficient in vitamin B2 often experience:
• extreme sensitivity to light;
• redness, inflammation, and soreness of the mouth, tongue, and throat;
• cracked skin around the lips;
• redness and tearing of the eyes;
• itchy and peeling skin around the nose.
Vitamin B2 overdose
This nutrient is determined to be safe, even at higher doses, and there is no upper limit specified. However, doses higher than 10 mg daily can increase the risk of eye damage due to sun exposure. Side effects of this vitamin rarely occur with average daily doses and are more likely to occur at higher doses. These effects include sensitivity to light, itching or burning sensations, and changes in the color of urine(dark yellow). However, B2 might negatively interact with other medications, so check with a physician or pharmacist before taking supplements.
Daily Recommended Intake
B2 must be obtained from the diet and is available in many food sources. Riboflavin is widely used as a food additive as a natural coloring agent (E101), approved by the European Union. The most significant source of this B vitamin is enriched cereals and grain products. There are a lot of natural sources of this vitamin. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is really all that is necessary to get enough of this nutrient.
The recommended daily allowance for Vitamin B2 ranges from 0.3 mg per day up to 1.6 mg per day. More significant doses may be recommended for treatment and prevention of certain health conditions. The average daily dose is as follows:
• Infants 0.3 mg - 0.4 mg;
• Children 0.5 mg - 0.9 mg;
• Males age 14 and up 1.3 mg;
• Teenage females 1.0 mg;
• Adult females 1.1 mg;
• Pregnant women 1.4 mg;
• Breastfeeding women 1.6 mg.
Sources of Riboflavin
The following foods have high amounts of vitamin B2:
• Chicken liver (pan-fried) (100g) - 2.31 mg;
• Turkey, heart (simmered) (100g) - 1.54 mg;
• Grapes muscadine(raw) (100g) - 1.5 mg;
• Orange drink (breakfast type)(100g) - 1.04 mg;
• Chicken heart (simmered) (100g) - 0.74 mg;
• Caviar (black and red) - 0.62 mg;
• Litchis(dried) (100g) - 0.57 mg;
• Salmon (smoked) (100g) - 0.54 mg;
• Chicken egg (100g) - 0.5 mg;
• Cheese (brie, parmesan, cheddar) - 0.5 mg;
• Pork (cooked) (100g) - 0.43;
• Mushrooms-portabella (grilled) (100g) - 0.40 mg;
• Popcorn (popped) (100g) - 0.3 mg.
Other important sources of Vitamin B2:
• Spices: coriander leaf (dried), chili powder, pepper (red or cayenne);
• Asparagus; Spinach; Okra; Swiss Chard;
• Bananas; Persimmon;
• Cow's milk; Yogurt.
"Flavus" is yellow
During the 1920s, vitamin deficiency studies were being performed regarding instances of pellagra and dermatitis in rats. During the studies, a substance that was a fluorescent yellowish color was noted. Researchers Kuhn, Gyorgy, and Wagner in the study discovered that this fluorescent colored substance avoid the growth problem in rats. In the early part of the 1930s, the substance was isolated and synthesized.
At first, the substance was believed to be merely a part of a single vitamin, labeled with the letter B, with thiamine being the first component. When it was discovered that these were two separate nutrients, this yellow compound was given the name of Vitamin B2. It is also referred to as riboflavin, from "ribose" a type of sugar in the compound and "flavus" meaning yellow.