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How Much Riboflavin for Kids Is Good?
  /   Dr. John Snow

How Much Riboflavin for Kids Is Good?

Every vitamin and mineral performs an essential function within the body. Your kids are continuing to grow and develop. During this process, accounting for every necessary vitamin and mineral is crucial. Deficiencies, although rare, can cause significant issues later on in life.

Riboflavin is one of many vitamins your child needs sufficient intake of to grow and thrive. Here’s what you need to know about your child’s daily dose requirements for riboflavin and how to ensure their needs are being met.

What Is Riboflavin?

Riboflavin is the official name of vitamin B2. Since riboflavin is water-soluble, the body stores a very limited amount of it. Riboflavin has to be sufficiently ingested every day to perform its necessary functions.

The body uses daily allowances of riboflavin to create enzymes it needs to facilitate several important functions. Riboflavin is key for proper growth and development. It also helps the body produce energy, helps red blood cells function, and assists the metabolism to break down and utilize certain medicines.

The Functions of B Vitamins

There are 8 B vitamins, and each of them plays a different role in maintaining health and wellness. The daily recommended amounts of B vitamins vary from vitamin to vitamin and may vary from person to person. In fact, women need more B vitamins to promote a healthy pregnancy, including:

  • Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
  • Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
  • Biotin (Vitamin B7)
  • Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)
  • Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)

Every child needs every B vitamin. Don’t focus on riboflavin to the exclusion of other critically important B vitamins. Enriched foods often contain multiple B vitamins in addition to other vitamins and minerals. Always check the nutrition facts on fortified cereals and breads.

How Much Riboflavin Do Kids Need Each Day?

Although riboflavin is essential, medical advice states your child doesn’t need a significant high-dose riboflavin. Daily requirements for kids are all under 1 mg daily, and this amount increases through adolescence. This is easily achievable through a balanced diet, as riboflavin is often added to foods made for children.

  • Birth to 6 months – 0.3 mg daily
  • Seven months to 1 year – 0.4 mg daily
  • One year to 3 years -- 0.5 mg daily
  • Four years to 8 years – 0.6 mg daily
  • Nine years to 13 years – 0.9 mg daily

While these recommended daily values are standard advice, you should always ask your child’s healthcare provider about your child’s unique needs. Although they’re unlikely to vary substantially, there may be instances where some children will benefit from additional amounts of certain vitamins and minerals.

What Foods Are High in Riboflavin?

The best source of riboflavin is beef liver. You’re probably not willing to entertain the notion of serving beef liver to your child because you can feel the complaints in your bones. Many adults who aren’t picky eaters won’t touch the stuff. It can be challenging to expect a toddler to eat liver without complaint.

Most breakfast cereals and bread are fortified with B vitamins, and it’s easy for your child to achieve their daily recommended value in a single serving. Just be wary about what’s coming along with those B vitamins.

If a cereal is packed with added sugar, its vitamin content may not be a worthwhile tradeoff.

Whole grains like wheat and oats and low-fat dairy products are wholesome and valuable sources of riboflavin. Many parents are more comfortable with the idea of giving their child fruit with fresh yogurt and steel-cut oats than a bowl of sugary marshmallows.

Eggs, cheese, chicken breast, and almonds are also rich in riboflavin. Most children will eagerly enjoy these foods, and they play a role in a healthy balanced diet.

A single 3 ounce serving of chicken breast contains 0.2 mg of riboflavin alongside essential amino acids. If you serve it with macaroni and cheese made with enriched pasta, your child will likely meet their daily riboflavin needs in a single meal.

Leafy green vegetables like spinach are another good source of riboflavin, as well as magnesium, though young children may not willingly consume them.

Can My Child Have a Riboflavin Deficiency?

It’s possible to have a deficiency in any vitamin or mineral, but you should never assume your child has a deficiency before consulting with a medical professional.

Riboflavin deficiencies are relatively rare in developed countries. They’re usually caused by one of two factors. Either your child isn’t getting a sufficient amount of riboflavin through their diet, or your child’s body has issues utilizing or absorbing the riboflavin they’re ingesting.

Early research suggests a possible connection between riboflavin deficiencies and pediatric migraines. Riboflavin is potentially effective as a migraine preventative solution in adults, and it’s currently being investigated for its potential to help children. If your child experiences headaches, this situation warrants immediate medical intervention.

Speak to your child’s pediatrician about the relieving potential of riboflavin supplementation.

The only way to identify a deficiency is to speak to your child’s pediatrician. If the pediatrician believes that your child may be experiencing deficiencies, proper tests will be conducted. If supplementation is necessary, your pediatrician will tell you which supplements in which forms will be best for your child.

Can You Have Too Much Riboflavin?

Excessive riboflavin consumption can turn urine into a dark orange color. As long as your child is hydrated, this isn’t a problem. It’s simply a result of the natural color of riboflavin becoming visible in the urine.

Riboflavin overload is very rare, since it only exists in small amounts in food. Excessive riboflavin consumption may cause increased urination or diarrhea. Meanwhile, prolonged excessive riboflavin consumption may cause liver damage, but this isn’t something most parents should be concerned about.

Children who are receiving unnecessary or redundant supplements and children who help themselves to gummy vitamins that look and taste like candy may be more prone to ingesting too much riboflavin.

Don’t give your child supplements without first consulting your child’s pediatrician.

If supplements are necessary, make sure you aren’t inadvertently doubling up. If you’re giving your child two supplements that each contain 100% of their daily value of riboflavin, your child will be receiving double the necessary amount of the vitamin every day.

Always check the labels on your supplements and consult a health care provider with any questions. Take precautions and watch out for drug interactions if your child uses supplements. Keep an eye out for symptoms of allergies, like swelling of the tongue, throat, or lips.

Gummy vitamins may send children the wrong message. They often have a difficult time understanding the distinction between gummy vitamins and treats. This can pose issues and send the wrong message about what kinds of foods are healthy.

A once-daily chewable multivitamin stored out of children’s reach may help modify that perception. Make sure you explain to children that vitamins are for their health and not a snack food.

Helping Your Child Meet Their Daily Needs

Most children, including picky eaters, aren’t going to have trouble with riboflavin. If they do, slowly introduce new riboflavin-rich foods into their diets. Serve these foods a little bit at a time, encouraging your children to taste them.

It’s important not to make healthy foods feel like a punishment or a chore. If you create negative associations with foods early on, your child will likely be reluctant to eat them for years to come. Let your child experiment with new foods as they’re served, and tell your child why you like those foods. Introduce them as a fun new experience.

If your child rejects a food, ask them what they can do to make it taste better. Get them involved in preparing the food and encourage them to try new ways to eat it. Encourage your child to season the foods to their own taste.

This may mean adding a little bit of honey mustard, a squirt of ketchup, or a sprinkle of cheese to make foods like baked chicken breast or scrambled eggs more appealing. If that’s what it takes, it’s the perfect compromise. Everyone’s happy at mealtime, and your child is getting adequate amounts of the vitamins and minerals they need. As long as you aren’t introducing an excess of added sugar into your child’s diet, no harm has been done.

Helping Picky Eaters Stay Healthy

Children will discover their tastes and expand their preferences at their own pace. This pace is much slower for some children. If your child has difficulty mustering up enthusiasm for new healthy foods, ask your pediatrician if vitamin supplementation can be a helpful solution.

Hiya children’s chewable multivitamin is a one-a-day sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan supplement packed with 15 vitamins and minerals that picky eaters could likely use a little more of, including a plentiful amount of riboflavin.

Our multivitamin is naturally sweetened with monk fruit and contains natural flavors with the essence from fruits and vegetables. Even picky eaters can manage a bite.

Sources:

Riboflavin - Health Professional Fact Sheet | National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements

Micronutrient Deficiency | Our World in Data

Effectiveness of riboflavin in pediatric migraine prevention | National Library of Medicine

Riboflavin (Oral Route) Side Effects | Mayo Clinic

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