Vitamin B2 is one of the most highly required vitamins. It is crucial for maintaining growth, energy, and fatigue recovery. Its most important functions include taking care of eyes, skin development and of course, food breakdown.

Vitamin B2 a.k.a. Riboflavin is the second of eight B-complex vitamins. All these vitamins help convert carbohydrates into glucose. Or, in simple words, B-complex vitamins convert food into energy.

All of the vitamins of this group are water-soluble so they don’t get stored in our bodies. We have to keep taking them regularly. And the best way to take them is the natural way i.e. through food. A list of foods that contain Riboflavin is given below along with other useful info about this vitamin. So let’s have a look at the table of contents first.

Table of Contents

Functions of Vitamin B2 Riboflavin

Skeletal formula of a minor Riboflavin – Courtesy Wikipedia

As we mentioned above, B-complex group vitamins are pivotal for growth and development. Riboflavin, in particular, is essential for the growth of hair and skin, and it also boosts immune functions that help to reduce blood disorders, acne, muscle cramp and glaucoma.

It does all this because it is the key instrument that processes iron in our bodies.

[fact text=”Did You Know: Vitamin B2 plays an important role in growth that’s why almost all cereal and children foods are fortified with this Riboflavin.” type=”book”]

Perhaps, the most important role of Vitamin B2 is the recovery of eye fatigue. According to National Institute of Health, Riboflavin is one-half of the two B-complex vitamins that reduce the risk of cataract. The other vitamin is Vitamin B3 a.k.a. Niacin.

Subordinate Role

Like all other vitamins, Riboflavin also assists other vitamins to perform their functions sufficiently. Basically, this whole group of B-group vitamins is interdependent on each other in one way or the other. This piece of info may sound useless to you, but it will make a lot of sense in the concluding part of this article, so please just keep on reading.

Riboflavin Deficiency Symptoms

Deficiency of Vitamin B2 is a rare thing in developed countries because it is a commonly available vitamin despite being a vital vitamin. As you have seen in the list of foods, there are many foods that we regularly eat so it is rare that we get a B2 deficiency. However, there are people who are prone to deficiency.

“This is more common in people on extreme diets who are underweight or those with digestive problems such as celiac disease,” Dr. Kristine Arthur, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.

[fact text=”Pregnant Parents Should Note: During pregnancy, the body needs more iron, hence it needs more Vitamin B2. Lack of Riboflavin can lead to anemia.” type=”book”]

Here are the symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Lip sores
  • Slow growth
  • Anemia
  • Inflammation of the skin
  • Swelling of soft tissue in the mouth.

According to American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, these symptoms start to show up after just a few days of deficiency.

Foods with Vitamin B2

Like all other water-soluble vitamins, it gets flushed from our bodies every day so we have to keep taking it in daily. Obviously, the best to take in any vitamin is to eat food items that contain it naturally. In this case, here’s the list of foods contain vitamin B2:

  • Eggs
  • Nuts, especially almonds
  • Popcorn
  • Dairy Products
  • Meats, especially liver
  • Wheat germ
  • Wild rice
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli / Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprout
  • Soybeans
  • Other green leafy vegetables
  • Fortified cereal

Required Dosage

The recommend daily allowance (RDA) for Riboflavin is:

  • 4 – 0.8 milligrams per day for children.
  • 9 – 1.3 milligrams per day for adult women.
  • 1 – 1.5 milligrams per day for adult men.

The amounts are given in range because people have different weights. But if you take more of this vitamin through diet, there are virtually no side effects. But there are many plus points.

“A higher dose of 3 mg per day can help to prevent cataracts. Higher doses up to 400 mg can be used to treat migraine headaches,” Dr. Arthur of Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.

Nutritional Values

A hard-boiled egg has 0.3mg Riboflavin while a glass of whole (cow) milk contains 0.4mgs of vitamin B2.  A cup of whole almonds contains about 1.4mgs and one slice of beef liver (68g) contains 2.3mgs of it. Now you know why Riboflavin deficiency is rare in countries where people get enough food.

Side Effects of Over Dosage

The blanket rule about side effects is that if you have taken it naturally, which means through food and not medication, then there are virtually no chances of any side effects.

Some doctors even go ahead and say that there are no side effects when this vitamin is taken orally, which means even if you are taking them through tablets, they’re still alright and won’t have any side effects.

When taken in dietary supplements, Riboflavin is included in B-complex vitamins, but it is also available in separate doses of 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg.

It is relatively a nontoxic vitamin that is why it is considered safe even in high doses. It is considered safe because the excess of it is disposed of through urinary tract. There is mainly just one common side effect that your urine might turn yellow because of the overdose.

[fact text=”Did You Know: the -flavin in riboflavin comes from the Latin word flavus which means yellow. It is named so because if you take a lot of B2, it turns your urine bright yellow.” type=”book”]


Riboflavin is a very important vitamin, but thankfully, it is also commonly available. Meats, especially liver meat have loads of it but eggs and green vegetables also contain it in abundance.

[fact text=” Tip: Crocpots (slow cookers) are better at keeping vitamins and nutritional values intact. If you are a health conscious person, cook your meals using these cookers.” type=”gen”]

Riboflavin is safe vitamin so you are unlikely to have any side effects from overdose even if you take supplements. However, it is my personal opinion that we should avoid all kinds of medicine, supplements, etc. and rely purely on natural foods. A balanced diet based on whole foods, fruits and vegetables is the most secure and proven way to a healthy and long life.

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