What Does Riboflavin Do?

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Riboflavin is a common ingredient in some foods and supplements on the shelves of health food stores and pharmacies. Here's a breakdown on what this substance is and what effect it has on your body.

Considerations

Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin, also known as B2, found naturally in an assortment of food products, as a preservative in a number of consumer packaged goods, as a vitamin fortifier, as a food coloring and as a supplement taken in the form of a pill.

Function

Riboflavin helps in the repair and maintenance of the body, namely your skin, hair and eyes. It is a necessary vitamin to metabolize fats, carbohydrates and proteins into energy for use in the body. It also helps absorb other vitamins and minerals into the body. Since Riboflavin is easily absorbed, yet cannot be stored, you'll need a recommended daily intake of between 1.1 and 1.3 mg per day. If you eat certain foods, this suggested intake can easily be achieved without additional supplementation.

Types

Riboflavin is found naturally in many of the foods we eat on a day-to-day basis. It is found in bananas, asparagus, okra, edamame (soybeans), mushrooms; dairy foods such milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs, meat and fish; nuts such as almonds; and most green leafy vegetables such as chard and spinach. It is also found as an additive in cereals, pastas and baby food.

Size

One cup of milk contains 0.4 mg of Riboflavin; a cup of cereal contains the same, making a quick breakfast worth 0.8 mg. Other products break down as follows: an egg contains 0.3 mg, ½ cup of cottage cheese and ½ cup of mushrooms contain 0.2 mg, a 6-oz pork chop contains 0.6 mg, and a cup of either broccoli or spinach has around 0.2 mg.

Expert Insight

Today, most people get more than enough Riboflavin in their diet, so supplements are usually not needed. Plus, if you take a standard multi-vitamin, you're getting more than enough Riboflavin.

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