Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is found in small amounts in many foods. Good sources include milk, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, rice and mushrooms.

UV light can destroy riboflavin, so ideally these foods should be kept out of direct sunlight.

Riboflavin is water-soluble, which means you need it in your diet every day because it can’t be stored in the body.

The Daily Value for riboflavin is 1.7mg.

Requirements for riboflavin, like most B vitamins, are related to calorie intake – so the more food you eat, the more riboflavin you need to support the metabolic processes which will convert that food into usable energy. Women should be aware that riboflavin needs are elevated during pregnancy and lactation as well as by the use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills). Athletes may require more riboflavin due both to increased caloric intake and increased needs of exercise.

What does it do?

Riboflavin has a number of important functions. For example it:

  • promotes healthy skin, eyes, nervous system and mucous membranes
  • aids producing steroids and red blood cells
  • may help the body absorb iron from the food we eat

What happens if I take too much?

There isn’t enough evidence to know what the effects might be of taking high doses of riboflavin supplements each day.

No serious side effects have been reported for supplementation with riboflavin at levels several times above the DV of 1.7mg. Because the body excretes excess riboflavin in the urine high supplemental levels are likely to result in a bright yellow color.