Riboflavin, formerly known as Vitamin-Bs is a water-soluble yellow pigment, possessing a green florescence. This Vitamin is destroyed on exposure to sunlight. So, food containing riboflavin like milk and milk products should not be exposed to light. Also, this Vitamin cannot be stored in the body and should be supplied daily in the diet.
Riboflavin is conceived with the oxidation of carbohydrates, fats and proteins and is found in every living cell. It promotes growth and general health. It prolongs the life span and is essential to nerve tissues and for cell respiration.
Riboflavin is widely distributed in plant and animal foods, the richest source being dried yeast. Its major sources are meat especially liver, milks, eggs, grains and green vegetables.
The allowance for riboflavin has been based on the calorie intake, protein intake and the metabolic size. Thus 0.60 mg. of riboflavin per 1000 calories is recommended and the daily allowances are calculated from the Calorie allowance for each stage of life. The need for riboflavin increases during pregnancy and lactation.
Deficiency of riboflavin affects the eyes, skin and nerves. The eyelids become! rough and the eye become sensitive to bright sunlight and burning sensation occurs. Even blood vessels grow into the Cornea, causing inflammation and resulting in a condition called ‘corneal vascularization’. The skin too is affected due to the deficiency of this Vitamin. The skin changes are found around the area of the mouth, on the lips, tongue and nose. The lips become inflamed, cracks are observed at the corners of the mouth and the tongue becomes sore.
Experiments on laboratory animal show that low intake of riboflavin results in digestive disturbance, impaired growth lack of vigor, dimness of vision and early onset! of aging.