Vitamin B2


Vitamin B2 Introduction

Vitamin B2, Riboflavin, is a water-soluble vitamin that important for our overall health and well-being. Riboflavin is a component of two key coenzymes associated with oxidation processes in our bodies. These two coenzymes, flavin monocucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), function as oxidation-reduction reactionarie.

Vitamin B2 storage in the body is relatively small and is in direct correlation to our protein stores. Riboflavin is easily depleted when proteins are catabolized. It is also is not as readily absorbed as other B-vitamins and their associated compounds. Therefore, it is important to supply our bodies with this essential B vitamin on a daily basis.

Vitamin B2 Food Sources

The most reliable food sources containing riboflavin are milk-based products. Riboflavin is also stable to acidity, oxidation, and heat. [1]

FoodMeasureMg of riboflavin
Almond paste 1 cup:227g 1.66
Pizza with cheese topping 1 pizza:520g 1.61
Yeast bakers 1 oz:28g 1.51
Milk condensed 1 cup: 306g 1.27
Yeast brewers 1 oz:28g 1.19
Almonds dried 1 cup kernels:142g 1.11
Cheese feta 1pkg, 7oz:198g 0.84
Cheese edam 1pkg, 7oz:198g 0.76
Buckwheat 1 cup:170g 0.73
Cabbage cooked 1 head:1262g 0.69
Bacon meatless 1cup: 144g 0.69
Miso 1 cup:275g 0.68
Quinoa 1 cup:170g 0.67
Molasses cane, barbados 1 cup:328g 0.65
Millet raw 1 cup:200g 0.58
Spinach raw 10oz pkg:284g 0.53
Welsh rabbit 1 serving: 232g 0.53
Barley 1 cup:184g 0.52
Milkshake vanilla 10 fl oz:283g 0.51
Wheat germ crude 1 cup:113g 0.49
Breakfast cereals e.g. corn flakes 1 serving:39g 0.49
Soya beans cooked 1 cup:172g 0.49
Egg scambled 2 eggs:94g 0.48
Yogurt plain, low fat 8 oz:227g 0.48
Carob flour 1 cup:103g 0.47
Lambsquarters cooked 1 cup chopped:180g 0.46
Sesame seed kernels toasted 4 oz:100g 0.46
Cocoa powder 4 oz:100g 0.46
Dried mixed fruit 11 oz pkg:293g 0.46
Kidney beans sprouted 1 cup:184g 0.46
Sweet potatoes cooked 1 cup mashed:328g 0.46
Pumpkin and squash seed kernels dried 1 cup:138g 0.44
Macaroni and cheese canned 1 can 15oz:430g 0.43
Spinach cooked 1 cup:180g 0.42
Bean sprouts mung, raw 12oz pkg:340g 0.42
Wild rice raw 1 cup:160g 0.4
Cheese cottage, 2% fat 1 cup:226g 0.4
Beet greens cooked 1 cup:144g 0.41
Hummus 1 cup:246g 0.41
Molasses cane, second extraction or medium 1 cup:328g 0.39
Asparagus canned 1 can:411g 0.37
Sunflower seed kernels dried 1 cup:144g 0.36
Peas green, canned 1 can:482g 0.35
Egg substitute powder 1 tbsp: 19.8g 0.35
Peaches dried, uncooked 1 cup halves:160g 0.34
Natto 1 cup:175g 0.33
Passion-fruit juice 1 cup:247g 0.3
Tomato paste canned 6 oz can:170g 0.32
Raisins golden seedless 1 cup:165g 0.31

Vitamin B2 Uses

Vitamin B2 is essential for energy (ATP) production. It also plays a critical role in the oxidation and synthesis of certain fatty acids consumed in our diets. This oxidation and synthesis provides maintenance of many cell membranes in our bodies. Tissues such as the eye, tongue, skin and even nerves, are affected by proper intake and digestion of Riboflavin. As well, B2 provides for normal functional activities such as growth, reproduction, and the overall developmental maturation process in humans.

In one particular study, 400mg/day of Vitamin B2 was administered to 55 individuals for migraine relief. Taken for two months, riboflavin significantly reduced the frequency and lowered the pain associated with migraine headaches. [2] More study is needed, but fifty percent of the participants in the clinical study found a dramatic improvement over those participants not supplementing with Riboflavin.

Scientist speculate that riboflavin’s antioxidant properties may also provide protection for the eyes. Vitamin B2, B3, and niacin, have worked well in combination with one another in controlled studies for vision. Riboflavin may ultimately assist in the prevention and formation of cataracts in our eyes.[3] B2 has also been found to be absent in persons suffering from depression, indicating a need from supplementation in this populous. Riboflavin may also prevent and cure specific infections usually treated with popular antibiotics. [4, 5]

Vitamin B2 Dosages

RDA and DRI defined for Riboflavin (RDA for riboflavin was revised in 1998):

Age (years)MenWomenPregnancyLactation
19-30 1.3 mg/day 1.1 mg/day 1.4 mg/day 1.6mg/day
50+ 1.3 mg/day 1.1 mg/day

Vitamin B2 Toxicities and Deficiencies

Vitamin B2 Toxicities

There have been no reported toxicities from the ingestion of riboflavin; however, toxicity is likely to occur if ‘mega’ doses are administered to a patient intravenously, as in the case with parenteral nutrition.

Vitamin B2 Deficiencies

As with many water-soluble vitamins, a deficiency of B2 is not likely to occur. Deficiencies of riboflavin usually arise when persons decrease milk consumption or when there is a significant change or inadequacy in daily diet. Tissue changes are the most common introductory signs of a Vitamin B2 deficiency. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Cheilosis- cracks in the corners of the mouth and stomatitis, or the inflammation of the soft tissues of the mouth
  • Glossitis- changes in the tongue, usually resulting in the tongue becoming smooth and purple colored.

Another sign of deficiency is the increased vascularization of the corners of the eyes. This causes the eye to fatigue easily, redden, be light sensitive, and to consistently have a burning sensation.


1. Diet and Nutrition, Internet Health Library. Vitamin B2 Tables.. Best Sources of Riboflavin. March 28, 2001.

2. Schoenen J, Jacquy J, and Lenaerts M. Effectiveness of high-dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis. A randomized controlled trial. Neurology 50: 466–470, 1998.

3. Sperduto RD, Hu TS, Milton RC, et al. The Linxian cataract studies. Two nutrition intervention trials. Arch Ophthalmol 111: 1246–1253, 1993.

4. Carney MW, et al. Thiamine, Riboflavin and Pyridoxine Deficiency in Psychiatric In-patients. Br J Psychiatry. Sep1982;141:271-72.

5. Toyosawa T, Suzuki M, Kodama, Araki S. “Effects of intravenous infusion of highly purified vitamin B(2) on lipopolysaccharide-induced shock and bacterial infection in mice. " Eur J Pharmacol. 2004 May 25;492(2-3):273-80.