Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 also known as Riboflavin or E101 (additive) is a micronutrient required by humans and other animals for maintaining health. It is also responsible for causing the florescent yellow color in urine when a person has taken high dose B-complex preparations.

Vitamin B2 is easily absorbed by the body and is the central component of cofactors FAD and FMN, required by all flavoproteins. The name riboflavin is derived from the sugar which forms part of its chemical structure, “ribose.” Ribose is a transposition of arabinose and “flavin.” Riboflavin is known as the vitamin which gives the orange color to solid B-vitamin preparations and the yellow color to vitamin supplement solutions.

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Vitamin B2 Functions in the Human Body

Vitamin B2 is needed for a range of cellular processes and is vital for energy metabolism. Key vitamin B2 functions include the metabolism of ketone bodies, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Vitamin B2: Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)

RDI recommendations for vitamin B2 are as follows:

  • A minimum intake of 1.2 mg for persons whose caloric intake may be > 2,000 Kcal.
  • RDI for riboflavin differs slightly and adult men and women are advised to consume1.3 mg/day and 1.1 mg/day, respectively.
  • For pregnant or lactating women: 1.4mg and 1.6mg, respectively.
  • For infants: 0.3-0.4 mg/day.
  • For children: 0.6-0.9 mg/day.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) deficiency is common because it is excreted in the urine and therefore occurs where dietary intake is insufficient. Deficiency is always accompanied by deficiency in other vitamins. Symptoms of deficiency include cracked and red lips, inflammation of the lining of mouth and tongue, mouth ulcers, sore throat, bloodshot eyes, cracks at the corners of the mouth (angular cheilitis), and sensitivity to bright light. Iron-deficiency anemia is also commonly related to B2 deficiency.

Vitamin B2: Risk of Overdose

Riboflavin has low solubility, and as such when taken orally is not toxic. Toxic doses can occur via injection, but excess riboflavin absorbed nutritionally is excreted in the urine. Research studies using large quantities of riboflavin to cure headaches and muscle pain demonstrated no signs of toxicity on the body. Therefore overdose is unlikely unless excessively administered by injection.

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