It is water-soluble and thermolabile. It is essential for cell preservation and energy metabolism, and is required for the normal functioning of cell repair mechanisms.
It participates in electron (hydrogen) transfer reactions (e.g. pyruvate dehydrogenase, acylCoA dehydrogenase) and is therefore important in many redox reactions.
Vitamin B2 supplements hinder the development of liver cancer in mice, although it appears that a real protective effect is only provided by the entire B-complex.
Vitamin B2 deficiency in mice causes disturbances in glucose tolerance similar to those found in diabetics.
Injections of riboflavin quickly restore normal parameters. Its RDA ranges from 1.0 to 1.4 mg/dl in children and 1.6 to 1.8 mg/dl in adults. Deficiency causes buccal irritation, cheilosis, angular stomatitis, glossitis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, asthenia, corneal vascularisation and anaemia. It may colour the urine bright yellow, but this effect is completely harmless.
Drug interactions: chloramphenicol may increase the need for it.
The most important natural sources are: eggs, milk and dairy products, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, liver, meat.
The main plant drugs containing this vitamin are: garlic, fig, ginseng, horse chestnut, raspberry, liquorice, mallow, dandelion.