Riboflavin: The Yellow Vitamin You Need for Optimal Health
Riboflavin health benefits
- Energy production: Vitamin B2 helps the body to convert food into energy by participating in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
- Eye health: Riboflavin is required for the proper functioning of the eyes, specifically the maintenance of healthy vision. It helps to protect the eyes from oxidative stress and is necessary for the conversion of vitamin A to its active form.
- Skin, hair, and nail health: It is important for the maintenance of healthy skin, hair, and nails. It helps to protect the skin from oxidative stress and UV radiation.
Foods rich in Riboflavin
- Dairy products: Milk, yogurt, cheese.
- Dry-roasted soybeans.
- Fish & animal products: Liver, eggs, oysters, shellfish, lean meats, salmon, and oily fish – mackerel, eel, and herring
- Vegetables and fruits: Mushrooms, beans, broccoli, avocados, dried peas, and dark leafy green vegetables, such as asparagus and spinach.
- Seeds & grains: whole grains, wild rice, millet, sunflower seeds.
Recommended daily intake
- 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
- 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
- Fatigue and decreased energy levels.
- Sore throat: is a common symptom of Riboflavin deficiency
- Mouth sores: can appear in the corners of the mouth, lips, and tongue.
- Inflammation of the tongue and mouth, and cracks in the corners of the mouth.
- Anemia: Riboflavin is required for the production of red blood cells, and a deficiency can lead to anemia.
- Skin problems: dry, scaly, and itchy skin as well as other skin problems.
- Reduced immune function.
- Nervous system problems: such as numbness, tingling, and loss of balance.
- Nausea, stomach upset, and diarrhea.
- Urine discoloration: urine turns a bright yellow color, this is not harmful but it is noticeable.
- Sensitivity to light: Consuming very high doses of Riboflavin can cause sensitivity to light and temporary burning, itching, or redness of the eyes.
- The name “riboflavin” comes from the Latin “flavus” meaning “yellow,” and “ribose,” a sugar that is a component of the vitamin. This is because riboflavin is a yellow-green pigment that gives certain foods a yellow color.
- Vitamin B2 is also known as “lactoflavin” because it was first isolated from milk.
- Milk is now typically sold in cartons or opaque plastic containers to block light and preserve Riboflavin.
- Riboflavin is yellow or orange-yellow, so it is used as a food coloring.
Why is Riboflavin important for sports performance?
- Energy metabolism: It plays a key role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which are the main energy sources for the body during physical activity.
- Red blood cell production: Riboflavin is required for the production of red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body. This is important for sports performance as it allows the muscles to work efficiently and prevent fatigue.
- Antioxidant properties: It has antioxidant properties, meaning that it can help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. This is important for sports performance as intense physical activity can increase the production of free radicals, which can lead to muscle soreness and inflammation.
- Nervous system function: Allows the body to respond quickly and efficiently to changes in the environment.
- Hydration: Helps in the metabolism of fluids in the body and in maintaining the balance of electrolytes, prevents dehydration and maintains optimal hydration levels during physical activity.