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Home :: Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 - Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms And Food Sources

Alternative name :: Riboflavin

What is Vitamin B2?

Like other members of the B-vitamin family, Vitamin B2 helps the body metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Also known as riboflavin, the nutrient is fundamental in red blood cell formation, antibody production, and cell respiration. It facilitates the utilization of oxygen by the tissues of the skin, mucous membranes (including the mucous membranes of the digestive tract), nails, and hair. The vitamin is needed for the body to metabolize niacin, another B vitamin.

Benefits of Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 is necessary for red blood cell formation, antibody production, cell respiration, and growth. It alleviates eye fatigue and is important in the prevention and treatment of cataracts. It aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Together with vitamin A, it maintains and improves the mucous membranes in the digestive tract.

Riboflavin also facilitates the use of oxygen by the tissues of the skin, nails, and hair; eliminates dandruff; and helps the absorption of iron and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Consumption of adequate amounts of riboflavin is important during pregnancy, because a lack of this vitamin can damage a developing fetus even if a woman shows no signs of deficiency. Riboflavin is needed for the metabolism of the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted into niacin in the body. Carpal tunnel syndrome may benefit from a treatment program that includes riboflavin and vitamin B6.

Recommended Dosage of Vitamin B2

The minimum Recommended Dosage Allowance of Vitamin B2 are :-

  • Men - 1.7 mg.
  • Women - 1.3 mg.
  • Pregnant women - 1.6 mg.
  • Lactating women - 1.8 mg.

Because the body cannot absorb large amounts of vitamin B2 at one time, there known toxicity level for this vitamin.

Excessive Intake of Vitamin B2

Taking too much Vitamin B2 (over 50 milligrams daily) over a long period of time may lead to cataracts and retinal diseases.

Special Intake of Vitamin B2

Individuals who take antibiotics or oral contraceptives, drink alcohol daily, or exercise heavily each day have increased needs for vitamin B2. Because they do not metabolize the vitamin efficiently, elderly people also need higher levels of vitamin B2.

Deficiency Symptoms of Vitamin B2

Deficiency symptoms include cracks and sores at the corners of the mouth, eye disorders, inflammation of the mouth and tongue, and skin lesions, a group of symptoms collectively referred to as ariboflavinosis. Other possible deficiency symptoms include dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, insomnia, light sensitivity, poor digestion, retarded growth, and slowed mental response

Rich Food Sources of Vitamin B2

High levels of vitamin B2 are found in the following foods: cheese, egg yolks, fish, legumes, meat, milk, poultry, spinach, whole grains, and yogurt. Other sources include asparagus, avocados, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, currants, dandelion greens, kelp, leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, molasses, nuts, and watercress.

Herbs that contain vitamin B2 include alfalfa, bladderwrack, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, ginseng, hops, horsetail, mullein, nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaves, red clover, rose hips, sage, and yellow dock.

It has been estimated that up to one-third of North American vitamin B2 intake is from dairy products.


Nervousness and rapid heartbeat have been reported with daily dosages of 10 mg. When taken in doses above 100 mg, vitamin B2 can cause photosensitivity. Factors that increase the need for riboflavin include the use of oral contraceptives and strenuous exercise. This B vitamin is easily destroyed by light, antibiotics, and alcohol.

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