Riboflavin differs from thiamin in not being available in as wide a variety of foods. This means a riboflavin deficiency is most commonly caused by an imbalanced diet. Strict vegans are at risk of riboflavin deficiency. Riboflavin is an anti-oxidant agent. A deficiency of riboflavin may interfere with iron metabolism and produce anaemia.
Riboflavin acts as a co-enzyme to assist in the release of energy from nutrients in the body.
While rare in countries where people drink milk and have an adequate protein intake, riboflavin deficiency causes lower resistance to infection and produces symptoms such as soreness or cracks in the corners of the mouth and throat, on the lips and swelling of the tongue. The tongue can also turn a magenta colour and a rash may form at the base of the nose. Excessive alcohol may deplete the body and cause deficiency.
Milk and milk products, meat and meat products, breads and cereals, eggs and yeast extracts. Small amounts are found in vegetables such as broccoli, peas and spinach.
While pasteurising milk depletes riboflavin content by 5%, four hours exposure to sunlight depletes it by 70%. Milk stored in cardboard cartons will have a lower rate of riboflavin loss than milk stored in glass or plastic bottles.
Adult: 1.0 - 1.7 mg per dayChildren aged 8-11 yrs: 1.3 - 1.4 mg/day
Children aged 12-15 yrs: 1.6 - 1.8 mg/day
Children and teenagers 16 - 18 yrs: 1.4 - 1.9 mg/day
Are you eating enough vitamin B2? Put your diet to the test