Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2
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Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is one of the eight B vitamins essential for human health. It can be found in cereals, herbs, and dairy products. It is essential for breaking down food ingredients, absorbing other nutrients and preserving tissues.

Its vitamin is water soluble so B2 is a water soluble vitamin. All vitamins are either water soluble or fat soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are transported through the bloodstream and what is not needed is excreted from the body in the urine.

People need to consume vitamin B2 every day because the body can only store small amounts and supplies fall off quickly.

Riboflavin occurs naturally in some foods, added to others, and can be taken as a supplement. Most are absorbed in the small intestine.


Vitamin B2 helps break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s energy supply.

Riboflavin helps convert carbohydrates into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The human body produces ATP from food and ATP produces energy as required by the body. Compound ATP is vital for storing energy in the muscles.

Along with vitamin A, vitamin B is essential for:

  • Care of the mucous membrane in the digestive system
  • Maintaining a healthy liver
  • Converting tryptophan to the amino acid niacin
  • Keeping eyes, nerves, muscles and skin healthy
  • Absorbing and activating iron, folic acid, and vitamins B1, B3, and B6
  • Hormone production by the adrenal glands
  • Prevent the development of cataracts
  • Fetal development, especially in regions where vitamin deficiency is common

Some research suggests that vitamin B2 may help prevent cataracts and migraine headaches, but more studies are needed to confirm this.

Other research has found that vitamins B2, B6, and magnesium supplements lower levels of abnormal organic acids in the urine in children with autism.


Vitamin B2 comes from food.

Sources of B2 include:

  • Fish, meat, and poultry, such as turkey, chicken, beef, kidneys, and liver
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Asparagus
  • Artichoke
  • Avocado
  • Cayenne
  • Currant
  • Fortified grains
  • Kelp
  • Lima beans, navy beans and peas
  • Sugar cane
  • Mushrooms
  • Hazelnut
  • Parsley
  • Pumpkin
  • Rosehip
  • Sage
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, dandelion greens, and watercress
  • Whole grain breads, enriched breads and wheat bran
  • Yeast extract

Vitamin B2 is water soluble, so cooking may cause it to disappear. Approximately twice as much B2 is lost through boiling than in steaming or microwaving.

How much do we need?

According to Oregon State University, the recommended daily amount of vitamin B2 (RDA) for men 19 and older is 1.3 milligrams per day and 1.1 milligrams per day for women. During pregnancy, women need 1.4 milligrams per day and 1.6 milligrams per day while breastfeeding.

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