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Its richest natural sources are milk; eggs, liver, kidney and green leafy vegetables, meat and fish contain small amounts. Cereals (whether whole or milled) and pulses are relatively poor sources but because of the bulk in which they are consumed they contribute much of the riboflavin to Indian diets. Germination increases the riboflavin content of pulses and cereals. The riboflavin content of some common foods is given below:

Foods of animal origin

Mg/100g

Foods of vegetable origin

Mg/100g

Liver, sheep

1.70

Whole cereals

0.10-0.16

Milk, cow’s

0.19

Milled cereals

0.03-0.08

Egg, hen

0.40

Pulses

0.21-0.32

Meat

0.14

Leafy veg

0.15-0.30

Benefits of vitamin B2

It is essential for growth. Riboflavin is related to the metabolic process of proteins. A study has been made which shows that riboflavin play some part in cornea and deficiency produces corneal vascularisation.

It is required by the body to use oxygen and the metabolism of amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates. Riboflavin is further needed to activate vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), helps to create niacin and assists the adrenal gland. It may be used for red blood cell formation, antibody production, cell respiration, and growth.

It eases watery eye fatigue and may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of cataracts. Vitamin B2 is required for the health of the mucus membranes in the digestive tract and helps with the absorption of iron and vitamin B6.

Although it is needed for periods of rapid growth, it is also required when protein intake is high and is most beneficial to the skin, hair and nails.

Daily requirement

1.5 to 1.8 mgm in adults. The daily requirement of riboflavin can be calculated in term of protein intake, i.e., 0.025 mgm of riboflavin per 1 gm of protein. In the therapeutic use of this nutrient, the dosage is usually increased considerably, but the toxicity level must be kept in mind

Deficiency signs
  • In mouth cheilotic fissures are seen at the corners of the mouth and ulcers on the lips. There may be an abnormal shiny redness of the lips, burning in the eyes, and a purplish discoloration of the tongue.
  • Angular stomatitis. Glossitis, keratitis, corneal opacities, vascularisation of cornea and photophobia.
  • Loss of hair and dry and scaly skin.
  • Arrested growth occurs.
  • Dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, insomnia, light sensitivity, poor digestion, retarded growth, and slow mental responses have also been reported. Burning feet can also indicate deficiency of this vitamin.
  • Although the manifestations of riboflavin deficiency are usually relatively mild, this deficiency frequently occurs in association with deficiency of thiamine and or niacin.
Symptoms of excessive intake of this vitamin

A normal yellow discoloration of the urine is seen with an increased intake of this vitamin – but it is normal and harmless.

When more is needed
  • Extra might be needed when consuming alcohol, antibiotics, and birth control pills or doing strenuous exercise.
  • If you are under a lot of stress or on a calorie-restricted diet, this vitamin could also be of use.
  • Riboflavin is best taken with B group vitamins and vitamin C.