The active forms of riboflavin in the tissues are components of enzymes called flavin mononucleotide (FM) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). The body has the ability to convert riboflavin into FM and FAD but no ability of its own to make riboflavin itself. The best known role in the cells of ‘flavins’ is in the mitochondria of the cells in cell respiration, that is to say in the process in which bulk food materials are oxidized to produce cell energy. The part of the system involved is called the ‘electron transport chain’. Hydrogen atoms are removed from the bulk nutrients, like protein, carbohydrate and fat, and then passed down a chain of carrier enzymes and co enzymes (in the form of electrons) until they react with oxygen and produce water. Therefore, like thiamine, it is playing a part in those most vital cell processes, that are basic to life itself. The surprising aspect really is that the known effects of deficiency of it are not more life threatening. There are also other enzymes that use flavins; these include some that oxidize amino acids. Deficiency of riboflavin does not usually occur in isolation but is usually accompanied by other nutrient deficits. No clear riboflavin deficiency disease has been characterised. However, the clinical signs of deficiency after almost four months of inadequate intake include lesions of the outside of the lips, corners of the mouth, inflammation of the tongue, red and swollen mouth and/or oedema of the mouth, dermatitis and neuropathy. The skin and eyes of the subject are also affected. Deficiency may also give rise to a particular form of anaemia. In boys, scrotal dermatitis may occur. There is stunting of growth in children. The most commonly recommended intakes are 1.6mg/day for males and 1.2mg/day for females, but these figures rise with increasing consumption levels of the bulk nutrients. However, our recommended policy regarding supplementation is the same exactly as for thiamine. It is a policy that ensures luxury supply that there is plenty to accompany the minerals being given at the same time and to make sure that lack of riboflavin cannot then be a problem. Not surprisingly, riboflavin is often recommended for a number of skin and eye conditions, including acne, bedsores, dermatitis, ulcers, cataracts, conjunctivitis, glaucoma and night blindness. It has also been suggested for conditions affecting other systems, such as blood sugar control, neuritis, arthritis and stress. Such disease related connections with the vitamin are probably non specific, but the policy being outlined here for supplementation will make sure that each and every subject has more than enough supply of each of the B Vitamins. There is therefore absolutely no need to take riboflavin on the basis of a perceived or symptoms. >>Source
Uses in the body: promotes normal growth and development, helps release energy from food, maintains health of mucus membranes. Is also needed for healthy skin, eyes and nervous system; plays a role in fertility.
Signs of deficiency: dry skin, cracked lips, red and flaky skin especially round nose and eyes, sore mouth and tongue, eye irritation and light sensitivity, poor concentration and memory, burning sensation in feet.
Therapeutic uses: pregnant and breastfeeding women, those on the contraceptive pill or oestrogen replacement therapy, young people during growth spurts, the elderly, athletes, people on high-protein diets or those suffering from stress or alcohol or drug abuse. People with mouth ulcers and gastric ulcers may also benefit.
Dietary sources: beef or lamb’s liver, wild rice, wholewheat pasta, soya milk, wholegrain cereals, brewer’s yeast, yeast extract, pulses, seeds, milk and other dairy produce. Can be destroyed if foods left in strong sunlight.
Recommended daily allowance: 1.6mg
Typical therapeutic daily dosage: 50mg to 100mg
Daily intake shouldn’t exceed: 200mg
Cautions: shouldn’t be taken at the same time as antibiotics (erythromycin and tetracycline) or methotrexate (an anti-cancer drug) as it interferes with their absorption. Not suitable for people with kidney disease or children under 12. May cause urine to turn bright yellow (to overcome this, increase daily fluid intake). Diuretics can increase the need for B2.
Best taken: with breakfast. A yeast-free form is best for those sensitive to yeast infections.