Riboflavin is a vitamin you don't need much of on a daily basis, but that doesn't mean it isn't essential for your health. If you aren't familiar with riboflavin, it's time you get to know all it does.
Riboflavin is also known as vitamin B2, and is one of the eight vitamins in the B complex. Riboflavin is also a water-soluble vitamin, which means it isn't stored within the fat of the body, and must be taken in through food or supplements on a daily basis. As is the case with all B vitamins (since they're all water soluble), excess riboflavin is removed from the body through the urine -- the urine is often bright or neon yellow when there is an excess of B vitamins present.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), riboflavin can be found in foods like dairy, legumes and green leafy vegetables. It's also commonly added to processed foods like cereal.
Functions of Riboflavin
Riboflavin is needed for several functions within the body and is taken for many different reasons. It's needed to help the skin and red blood cells develop properly. Just like all B vitamins, riboflavin is needed for energy production. The body uses carbohydrates for energy and riboflavin helps the body extract this energy.
Another possible use for riboflavin is in the prevention of migraine headaches. Migraines are headaches centralized to one area that can cause potentially debilitating side effects like nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center and published research, 400 mg of riboflavin daily has been shown to reduce frequency and severity of migraine headaches. Lastly, riboflavin supports eye health and may prevent the development of cataracts, but more research is needed.
Becoming deficient in riboflavin isn't common, since most foods and multivitamins contain an adequate amount. Symptoms of a riboflavin deficiency include anemia, skin conditions, sore throat and swollen mucus membranes. Your healthcare provider can tell if your deficient in riboflavin through a blood test.
Proper Dosage of Riboflavin
How much riboflavin do you need to stay healthy? This amount varies due to age and gender as well as life stage (puberty, pregnancy, etc.). Here are the recommended dietary allowance (RDAs), according to the NIH:
Infants zero to six months -- 0.3 mg per day
Infants seven to 12 months -- 0.4 mg per day
Children one to three years -- 0.5 mg per day
Children four to eight years -- 0.6 mg per day
Children nine to 13 years -- 0.9 mg per day
Males 14 years and older -- 1.3 mg per day
Females 14 to 18 years -- 1 mg per day
Females 19 years and older -- 1.1 mg per day
Riboflavin is found in most multivitamins, providing an adequate dosage. But if you're in need of more vitamin B2, or don't take a multivitamin supplement, you can find riboflavin supplements in varying strengths. Speak with your doctor first to determine if adding a riboflavin supplement to your routine is right for your needs, especially if you've been diagnosed with a medical condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Shop for vitamin B2 supplements to suit your dietary needs and more at eVitamins Canada. Have a great weekend!