In 1879, scientists have, while observing milk under the microscope, discovered a fluorescent yellowish substance in it, but only in 1933. they realized that it was riboflavin. This vitamin is water-soluble and belongs to a group of B vitamins, and participates in the conversion of protein, fat and carbohydrates to energy. It is found in many types of food, and bakery products and cereals are often enriched with it. When exposed to sunlight it quickly degrades.
Riboflavin deficiency, as well as deficiency of all other group B vitamins, is common in elderly people and alcoholics. Riboflavin can be obtained as an independent dietary supplement, in combination with other B vitamins (B-complex) or as part of multivitamins.
How does it work?
Riboflavin has many functions in the body. It is extremely important to create a thyroid gland hormone that accelerates metabolism and ensures good energy supply. Riboflavin helps to create immune system cells. Like iron, it is important for the formation of red blood cells that transmit oxygen throughout the body. This vitamin also activates vitamin B6 and niacin so it allows their action.
Riboflavin helps to create antioxidants that (such as, for example, vitamin E) protect the cells from damage caused by the action of free radicals. This vitamin is also essential for maintaining and recovering tissues – after injuries, surgeries and burns, additional riboflavin is needed. Riboflavin is also needed for the eyes and healthy nerves.
PREVENTION: since it enhances antioxidant activity, riboflavin provides protection to many tissues, especially to lenses in the eye. It can therefore help prevent the formation of cataract, clouding of the lens, which is the reason why many older people see less. Ophthalmologists therefore recommend that everyone, especially those whose family members have cataract, take enough riboflavin during their life. It has been shown that this vitamin is very effective in reducing the incidence and weight of migraine.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: it has been shown that riboflavin is very useful in treating some skin diseases such as rash, which causes reddening of the facial skin. Combined with other vitamins of group B, riboflavin can help with many nervous disorders such as weakened sensation and numbness, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, but also anxiety, stress and fatigue. Some doctors prescribe it to patients who suffer from sickle cell anemia because they have deficiency of that vitamin.
How much riboflavin is needed?
The daily recommended dose of riboflavin is 1.3 mg for men and 1.1 mg for women. This amount is sufficient to prevent deficiency, while a higher dose is required as a treatment aid.
IF YOU TAKE TOO LITTLE: the classic symptoms of riboflavin deficiency are cornea damage and wounds, damage and wounds of oral mucosa, tearing and burning of eyes and increased sensitivity to sunlight. The skin is peeling around the nose and eyebrows, and a rash can occur on the skin of the groin. Sometimes the number of red blood cells is reduced, which can cause fatigue.
IF YOU TAKE TOO MUCH: there is no risk of riboflavin excess because it is easily excreted by urine. A large intake is accompanied by a bright yellow color of urine which can be worrisome to people, but it is completely harmless.
How to take it?
To prevent cataract: the usual dose is 20 mg per day.
For rosacea: 40 mg per day is recomended.
For migraine: take up to 40 mg of riboflavin per day.
Most vitamin preparations contain an amount close to the RDA value, and high-value multivitamin preparations contain much larger amounts – 30 mg or more.
USE GUIDELINES: if you are taking oral contraceptives, antibiotics or medicines for the treatment of mental illness, consult your doctor before taking riboflavin because the need for this vitamin may change. It should not be taken with alcohol because its absorption is less then.
Good sources of riboflavin are milk, cheese, yoghurt, liver, beef, fish, bakery products and whole grains, eggs, avocados and mushrooms.
IMPORTANT: additional amounts of vitamin K (greater than those in multivitamion preparations) should only be taken under medical supervision.