Functions of Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin | Benefits | Food Sources | Deficiency Symptoms

Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin | Functions | Benefits | Food Sources | Deficiency

Riboflavin or Vitamin B-2 is one of the eight B vitamins essential for human health. It is found in plants, grains, and dairy products. It is necessary for breaking down food components, help absorbing other nutrients, and maintaining tissues.

Vitamin B2 is water-soluble, carried through the bloodstream, and unwanted vitamins are excreted through urine.

It is required to consume vitamin B2 every day because the body can only store small amounts of B2, and the source drops quickly.

Riboflavin is naturally present in some foods, added to other foods, and can be used as a dietary supplement. Most amount of the B2 is absorbed in the small intestine.

Vitamin B is also known as B-Complex Vitamin, Vitamine B2, Vitamina B2, Flavin, Flavine, Riboflavin, Riboflavina, Lactoflavine, Lactoflavin, Vitamin G, Vitamine G.

Functions of Riboflavin/Vitamin B2

  • Vitamin B2 helps break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Hence, it plays a prominent role in maintaining the body’s energy supply.
  • Vitamin B2 helps convert carbohydrates into adenosine triphosphate – ATP.
  • Along with vitamin-A, vitamin B help in absorbing and activating folic acid, iron, and vitamins B1, B3, B6.

The Health Benefits of Riboflavin/Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 and all other B vitamins are very important for maintaining optimal nutrition and health. The main health benefits are listed below:

The Health Benefits of Riboflavin - Vitamin B2

  • Boosts Energy: Vitamin B2 plays an important role in energy production by supporting the “metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.”
  • Increases Blood Flow: Vitamin B2 plays a significant role in forming antibodies and new red blood cells, which increases blood circulation and oxygenation in other body organs.
  • Promotes Growth & Development: Vitamin B2 is very important for the proper growth and development of the reproductive organs and body tissues such as skin, eyes, connective tissue, mucous membranes. It also ensures healthy skin, hair, and nails.
  • Regulate Thyroid Activity: Vitamin B2 can help regulate thyroid activity in your body.
  • Skincare: Vitamin B2 is essential for improving mucus secretion from the skin and may clear up skin pimples common with acne.
  • Protect the Nervous System: Vitamin B2 can help relieve various neurological diseases, such as numbness and anxiety. Along with vitamin B6, B2 is effective in treating carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
  • Necessary for Normal Growth: Vitamin B2 is associated with the formation of proteins, making it essential for the body’s normal growth.
  • Protect Eyesight: Vitamin B2 also plays a vital role in the development of healthy cornea and perfect vision.
  • Increases Mineral Absorption: Vitamin B2 helps absorb minerals such as iron, folic acid, and other vitamins like B1, B3, and B6.
  • Repair Tissues: Riboflavin plays an important role in tissue repair, wound healing, and other injuries that can take a long time to recover fully.
  • Protect the Digestive Tract: It helps in protecting and maintaining the mucous membranes of the digestive system.
  • Healthy Fetal Development: Vitamin B2 is essential for a healthy pregnancy, and together with vitamin A, it is considered an important part of the diet of expectant mothers.
  • Strengthen Immune System: Vitamin B2 also helps strengthen natural immunity by increasing antibody reserves and strengthening the immune system to fight infections.


Riboflavin is also useful for preventing or treating certain medical conditions, including:

  • Cataracts
  • Migraines
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Autism
  • Seizures
  • Preeclampsia
  • Eczema
  • Dementia

Cataracts: Vitamin B2, together with other nutrients, is important for normal vision. Early studies suggest that riboflavin may help prevent cataracts that damage the eye’s lens, leading to blurry vision.

Migraine: Studies have proved that people with migraines can take riboflavin to reduce the frequency and duration of migraines.

Cancer: There is great evidence that vitamin B2 helps prevent cancer. B2 may protect cellular DNA from damage by carcinogenic agents such as cigarette smoke.

Homocysteinemia: Homocysteine ​​is a common amino acid in the blood. High levels of it ​​are associated with many undesirable diseases, including stroke, dementia, and heart attack. B2 reduces the risk of a heart attack.

Autism: Research suggests that taking vitamin B2 supplements, along with vitamin B6 and magnesium, reduces the level of di-carboxylic acids (abnormal organic acids) in the urine of children with autism.

Healthy Foods Sources of Riboflavin/Vitamin B2

Healthy Foods Sources of Riboflavin- Vitamin B2

Get Enough Vitamin B2: Eat a healthy, balanced diet to get enough vitamin B2. It is found in dairy products that most people need to get fit for life, including cheese and milk.

Egg yolkFishRed meat
Dark meatSalmonTuna
KelpAlmondsWheat grains
BeefOrgan meatLean meat
Soya beansLima beansNavy beans
Low-fat milkNatural yogurtMushrooms
PumpkinSweet potatoesPeas
Cruciferous vegetablesWhole-grain breadFortified Cereals

Note: Vitamin B2 is water-soluble, so it may be lost when cooking food. The loss of vitamin B2 during cooking is about twice that of steaming or microwaving.

How Much Do You Need Vitamin B2? 

For Riboflavin, the recommended daily intake for children and adults in the United States is:

  • Children 1 – 3 years old: 5 mg
  • Children 4 – 8 years old: 6 mg
  • Children 9 – 13 years old: 9 mg
  • Girls between 14 – 18 years: 0 mg
  • Boys between 14 – 18 years: 3 mg
  • Women 19 years above: 1 mg
  • Men 19 years and above: 3 mg
  • Pregnant women: 4 mg
  • Breastfeeding women: 6 mg

Vitamin B2/Riboflavin Deficiency: Signs & Symptoms

Vitamin B2 deficiency is extremely rare in the United States.

Groups at Risk of Vitamin B2 Deficiency

The following groups are most likely to have riboflavin deficiency:

  1. Vegetarian athletes
  2. Pregnant and lactating women and their babies
  3. Vegetarians and people who rarely drink milk 
  4. People with riboflavin transporter deficiency

Signs & Symptoms of Vitamin B2 Deficiency 

Riboflavin deficiency is also known as ariboflavinosis. Signs and symptoms of B2 deficiency include:

  • Angular cheilitis 
  • Cracked lips
  • Mouth ulcer
  • Red lips
  • Sore throat 
  • Dry skin
  • Inflammation of mouth lining
  • Inflammation of tongue
  • Scrotal dermatitis
  • Fluid in mucous membranes
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Eyes sensitive to bright light and may feel watery, itchy, or red
  • People who drink excessive alcohol are more likely to develop vitamin B vitamin deficiency

Side Effects of Vitamin B2

Oral riboflavin is safe for most people. In some cases, B2 can turn a yellow-orange color in the urine. It can also cause diarrhea.

Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin: Takeaway

Vitamin B2 is a water-soluble nutrient crucial for breaking down fats and carbohydrates into simpler forms and providing the body with a certain dose of energy to perform various bodily functions.

As a powerful antioxidant, B2 is of great significance in treating various diseases, including anemia, migraines, heart problems, liver problems, and vision disorders. It is extremely beneficial for healthy skin and hair.

By following these nutritional choices, you can easily avoid deficiency syndromes and get the full benefits of vitamin B2.

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