Riboflavin or Vitamin B2

Blog banner of riboflavin

Riboflavin or Vitamin B2 is naturally present in foods, added to foods and available as a supplement. It comes second in the list of vitamin B complexes. Bacteria in the gut can produce small amounts of riboflavin, but not enough to meet dietary needs. Riboflavin is a main component of coenzyme. It involved the growth of cells, energy production, and the breakdown of fats, steroids, and medications. 

  • Most riboflavin is used immediately and not stored in the body. Therefore, excess amounts are excreted in the urine.
  • An excess of dietary riboflavin, usually from supplements, can cause urine to become bright yellow.

The function of vitamin B2

  • First, Vitamin B2 helps break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Second, Riboflavin enables convert carbohydrates into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The human body produces ATP from food, and ATP produces energy as the body requires it. Hence, B2 performed in the energy role.
  • It may help prevent cataracts and migraine headaches.

Deficiency of vitamin B2

A riboflavin deficiency most often occurs with other nutrient deficiencies, such as in those who are malnourished. Symptoms may include:

  • Cracked lips
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling of the mouth and throat
  • Swollen tongue (glossitis)
  • Hair loss
  • Skin rash
  • Anemia
  • Itchy red eyes
  • Cataracts in severe cases

Groups at higher risk of deficiency:

  • Vegans/vegetarians due to a lower intake or complete exclusion of dairy and meat products.
  • Pregnant women, especially in those who consume little dairy (lactose intolerance) or meat, due to increased nutrient needs with a growing fetus.

Sources of Rivoflavin

It founds mostly in meat and fortified foods but also in some nuts and green vegetables.

  • Dairy milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Lean beef and pork
  • Organ meats (beef liver)
  • Chicken breast
  • Salmon
  • Fortified cereal and bread
  • Almonds
  • Spinach

 The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men and women ages 19+ years is 1.3 mg and 1.1 mg daily, respectively. For pregnancy and lactation, the amount increases to 1.4 mg and 1.6 mg daily, respectively.


The gut can only absorb a limited amount of riboflavin at one time, and excess is quickly excreted in the urine. Therefore, there are no more side effects occur. A toxic level of riboflavin has not been observed from food sources and supplements. Hence, we can take it from supplements without more discussion.

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