Dietary Sources and High Intakes

Table 2 lists the riboflavin contents of some commonly consumed foods in Western countries. As is the case with most other B vitamins, the richest food sources comprise items such as offal and yeast extract, with meat and dairy products also providing quite generous amounts; fruit and vegetables somewhat less, and the smallest amounts, in relation to their energy content, being present in ungerminated grains and seeds, such as nuts. There is an enormous difference in intakes and in status observed between most Western countries, where the dietary intake tends to be quite generous, and many developing countries, which depend on monotonous and ribo-flavin-poor staple foods such as polished rice. In developing countries, riboflavin deficiency tends to

Table 2 Riboflavin content of selected foods

Food mg per 100 g mg per fresh wt MJ

Meat, offal, and fish

Stewed minced beef

0.19

0.22

Grilled pork chop

0.16

0.21

Calf liver, fried

2.S9

3.94

Lamb's kidney, fried

3.10

3.95

Cod, grilled

0.06

0.15

Dairy products

Cows' milk, full cream

0.23

0.S4

Cheese, cheddar

0.39

0.23

Yogurt (whole milk, plain)

0.27

0.S1

Boiled chicken's egg

0.35

0.57

Human milk

0.03

0.10

Fruits

Apples, eating, flesh and skin

0.02

0.10

Oranges, flesh

0.04

0.25

Pears, flesh and skin

0.03

0.1S

Strawberries, raw

0.03

0.27

Dried mixed fruit

0.05

0.04

Vegetables

Potatoes, boiled, new

0.06

0.19

Carrots, boiled, young

0.01

0.11

Brussel sprouts, boiled

0.09

0.59

Cauliflower, boiled

0.04

0.34

Onions, fried

0.01

0.01

Grains, grain products, nuts

White bread

0.0S

0.09

Wholemeal bread

0.05

0.05

Rice, boiled, white

Trace

Trace

Comflakes (Kellogg)

1.3

0.S1

Baked beans in tomato sauce

0.06

0.35

Peanuts, plain

0.10

0.04

Other

Marmite (yeast hydrolysate)

11.9

15.6

Bovril (beef hydrolysate)

S.5

11.2

Compiled and calculated from data in Food Standard Agency (2002) McCance and Widdowsois The Composition of Foods, 6th Summary edn. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry.

be widespread. Although even a severe riboflavin deficiency is less obviously life-threatening than some other types of malnutrition that are commonly encountered in the Third World, it can nevertheless cause debility, through skin lesions and metabolic dysfunctions, and riboflavin-nutriture thus deserves an important place in future public health programs.

As with most other B vitamins, riboflavin and its cofactors are remarkably nontoxic even at high intakes. The reasons for this are probably associated with limitations on absorption, once the active transport process has become saturated in the gut; coupled with very effective urinary excretion of any absorbed vitamin that is in excess of cellular requirements.

See also: Antioxidants: Diet and Antioxidant Defense. Fatty Acids: Metabolism. Iron. Vitamin B6.

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