EFSA updates dietary reference values for riboflavin

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08 Aug 2017 --- The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has set updated dietary reference numbers for riboflavin (vitamin B2) as part of its review of scientific advice on nutrient intakes. The research, requested by the European Commission and published in the EFSA Journal on 7 August, updates population reference intakes (PRIs) for adults, children and pregnant and lactating women.

Based on new scientific findings, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) decided to update the dietary reference values for riboflavin that had been established by the Scientific Committee for Food (SCF) in 1993. The Panel noted that new scientific data had become available for adults since the publication of the SCF report.

The Panel redefined daily PRIs for riboflavin as follows: 0.6 mg for children aged 1-3 years; 0.7 mg for children aged 4-6; 1.0 mg for children aged 7-10; 1.4 mg for children aged 11-14; 1.6 mg for adolescents aged 15-17 as well as for adults; 1.9 mg for pregnant women; and 2 mg for lactating women. In addition, for children aged 7-11 months, the panel set an adequate intake (AI) of 0.4 mg per day.

Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in energy metabolism and the functioning of various enzymes, notes EFSA. It is naturally present in many foods of plant or animal origin including milk, milk products, eggs and offal. The updated figures for the popular vitamin will be noted with interest by many in the nutrition and supplements industries.

The update for riboflavin was needed because the 1993 report provided Reference Intakes for energy, certain macronutrients and micronutrients, according to EFSA, but it did not include certain substances of physiological importance, like dietary fiber. Moreover, since 1993 new scientific data have become available for some of the nutrients.

Further research has also been recommended by the Panel. Its suggestions for future areas of interest include: biomarkers of riboflavin intake and status, and their dose-response relationship with riboflavin intake; the requirement for riboflavin in some population groups like infants, children, pregnant or lactating women and the potential influence of age and sex; and the effect of physical activity and energy expenditure on riboflavin requirement. 

EFSA considered comments and input on the draft scientific opinion it received during a five-week public consultation.

The EFSA study, Dietary Reference Values for riboflavin, can be found here

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