Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin) deficiency

Alternative names
Deficiency - vitamin B-2 (riboflavin); Riboflavin; Diet - riboflavin; Vitamin B-2

Definition
Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin in the B-complex group.

Function
Riboflavin (vitamin B-2) works with the other B vitamins. It is important for body growth and red blood cell production and helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.

Food Sources

Lean meats, eggs, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, dairy products, and milk provide riboflavin in the diet. Breads and cereals are often fortified with riboflavin.

Because riboflavin is destroyed by exposure to light, foods with riboflavin should not be stored in glass containers that are exposed to light.

Side Effects

Deficiency of riboflavin is not common in the U.S. because this vitamin is plentiful in the food supply. Significant deficiency syndromes are characterized by sore throat, swelling of mucous membranes, mouth and/or lip sores, anemia, and skin disorders.

There is no known toxicity to riboflavin. Because riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin, excess amounts are easily excreted by the body in the urine.

Recommendations

Recommended daily allowances (RDAs) are defined as the levels of intake of essential nutrients that the Food and Nutrition Board judges to be adequate to meet the known nutrient needs of almost all healthy people.

The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid.

Specific recommendations for each nutrient depend on age, gender, and other factors (such as pregnancy). The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a PDF file that lists these recommendations.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 5, 2012
by Potos A. Aagen, M.D.

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