The Health Benefits of Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

The Health Benefits of Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)


Introduction & Biological Role

Let’s take a few minutes to talk about Riboflavin and it’s potential health benefits. Riboflavin is a water soluble vitamin also known as vitamin B2 that is typically included as part of a B vitamin complex.

The name riboflavin comes from the terms “ribose”, a type of sugar, and “flavin” yellow. Riboflavin is essential for proper development and function of the skin, maintaining  lining of the digestive tract, healthy blood cells, and many other functions in the body. Riboflavin is needed to help break down carbohydrates, proteins, ketones and fats. It also makes it possible for oxygen to be utilized properly by your body.

Vitamin B2 Supplement Options

Potential Benefits

  • May help prevent certain types of cancer
    • esophageal
    • cervical
  • Reduce cardiovascular risk - studies are beginning to link B vitamin complexes with a reduction in cardiovascular risk, this includes riboflavin
  • Reduction in blood pressure - Preliminary studies as above
  • Migraine headaches - shown to decrease the frequency of migraine headaches in adults
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Certain blood disorders - helps mobilize iron for RBC production
  • eye fatigue, cataracts, and glaucoma
  • Memory loss including Alzheimer's disease.
  • Promotes energy production - critical component of the electron transport chain and potent and-oxidant
  • Others
    • burning feet syndrome
    • Acne
    • Muscle cramps.
    • Boosting the immune system.
    • Aging
    • Maintaining healthy skin and hair.

Best Dietary Sources

  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Lean meats
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Breads and cereals are often fortified
  • Liver, kidneys


Symptoms of deficiency include anemia, mouth or lip sores, skin disorders, sore throat, and swelling of mucus membranes. It’s also linked to pre-eclampsia in pregnant women and may interfere with metabolic activity of other vitamins, mineral


According to the NIH, there are no documented cases of riboflavin toxicity. In high doses it can turn urine bright yellow, but this is considered a harmless side effect.

Recommended Dietary Intake

  • Males age 19 and older: 1.3 mg/day
  • Females age 19 and older: 1.1 mg/day
  • Another dosing regimen recommended by the NIH is 5-50 mg / day in divided doses

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