Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is a fat-soluble vitamin sensitive to air and light. It can be synthesised by the body, but in insufficient quantities, and is not stored, therefore it must be ingested every day through food.
Principal natural sources of Vitamin B2
Plant sources: It is found in brewer's yeast, soya, whole cereals, certain vegetables (spinach, carrots, lettuce, mushrooms, broccoli and avocado), certain leguminous vegetables (lentils, chickpeas and flageolet beans), certain dry fruits, and grains (sesame and sunflower seeds).
Animal sources: It is also found in offal (animal liver, kidney and heart), meat (beef and pork), poultry, dairy products, egg whites and fish.
Properties of Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2 is essential for the overall metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins originating from food, and as such facilitates energy production. It therefore helps maintain normal metabolism of energy and reduce fatigue.
Riboflavin is involved at cellular (mitochondrial) level in the breaking down of food products. This breaking down allows products usable in cellular function to be made. It also contributes to proper metabolism of iron and to maintenance of normal red blood cells in the body, as well as good visual capacity and normal skin. Finally, it is involved in normal nervous system function and helps protect cells against ageing.
Recommended Daily Intake
The intake is fixed at 1.4 mg daily. Recommended intake varies between 0.4 mg and 1.6 mg depending on the population concerned, and can exceed 25 mg for sporting people.
Vitamin B2 deficiency is a very rare phenomenon, as requirements are very small and many foods are rich in Vitamin B2, thus easily complementing the body's synthesis of the vitamin. However, deficiency can be seen in those whose intake is insufficient, and in pregnant women and elderly people.