Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin is one of the eight B-complex vitamins. It can be found in dairy products, grains, and plants. Vitamin B2 plays a crucial role in energy production. It’s effective for riboflavin deficiency and migraine headaches. Riboflavin is not made in the human body and has to be derived from the diet.


Vitamin B2 or riboflavin was discovered in 1920 and first made in 1935. It is often used as a dietary supplement. It’s the most effective and important medicine needed in the health system.

Vitamin B2 is a nutrient that is needed to recycle glutathione, which is the most important antioxidant in the human body.

It’s a dietary supplement, which means that it must be ingested through the mouth. Good sources of vitamin B2 include eggs, green vegetables, milk, and other dietary products. As a dietary supplement, it is used to treat riboflavin deficiency, migraine headaches, and to prevent cataracts and cancers. It helps prevent cognitive decline and helps in reducing the symptoms of postpartum depression.

There have been no reports of toxicity from vitamin B2 to date and it doesn’t have any health risks. The only thing vitamin B2 tends to do is make the urine appear very yellow. This is not considered to be harmful.

Benefits and Effects

Vitamin B2 is effective in treating riboflavin deficiency and other conditions that are related to riboflavin deficiency.

Vitamin B2 ReviewRiboflavin Deficiency

A proper, varied diet ensures the required amounts of vitamin B2. However, in conditions of increased mental and physical strain, stress, excessive use of alcohol, tobacco or coffee, the stores of this vitamin may become depleted. The vitamin B2 deficiency occurs relatively often in our population due to insufficient use of milk and milk products.

Symptoms of a lack of vitamin B2 are nausea, fatigue, slow growth, problems with digestion, wounds around the corners of the lips, redness and pain in the lips, tired eyes, swelling and throat pain, sensitivity to light, and anemia.

Vitamin B2 is an important nutrient in the prevention of headaches and some types of visual impairment, especially cataracts. The lack of B2 vitamin in children can negatively affect growth, and in adults, it can lead to a decrease in fertility. Due to the weakening of the immune system, the formation of antibodies is reduced, and the body becomes more susceptible to infections.

It’s very important to get enough riboflavin in your diet if you are pregnant. A riboflavin deficiency can endanger babies growth and increase the chance of preeclampsia, which leads to high blood pressure. That is a serious condition that can endanger your life.

Vitamin B2 is helpful for:

  • Providing you with an energy-yielding metabolism
  • Normal metabolism of iron in your body
  • Maintaining normal skin
  • Maintaining normal red blood cells
  • Maintaining normal vision and protecting you from the risk of cataract
  • Maintaining the normal function of the nervous system


Vitamin B2 helps in preventing cataracts and other eye diseases.

Cataracts are the leading cause of visual disability in the US and other countries. Research has focused on nutritional antioxidants, as the light-induced oxidative damage of lens proteins can lead to the development of age-related cataracts.

A case-control study found a significantly lowered risk of age-related cataracts in men and women who have riboflavin intake on an everyday basis. A cross-sectional study of 2,900 Australian men and women, found that those in the highest quintile of riboflavin intake have 50% less chance to have cataracts than those in the lowest quintile. (Cumming RG, Mitchell P, Smith W. Diet and cataract: the Blue Mountains Eye Study. Ophthalmology. 2000; 107(3):450–456.)

Although these are observational studies, they provide some information about the role of riboflavin in the prevention of cataracts.

Migraine headaches

Migraine headaches often produce intense pulsating in one area of the head. Mitochondrial dysfunction is thought to contribute to some types of migraine. Because riboflavin is required for mitochondrial function, researchers are studying the potential use of riboflavin in preventing and treating migraine headaches.

Some studies have found evidence of beneficial effects from riboflavin supplements on migraine headaches in adults and children. 55 adults with a migraine were selected for the study, taking 400 mg/day riboflavin has reduced the frequency of migraine headaches by two per month.

The Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society stated that riboflavin is probably effective for this kind of headaches and it’s recommended for this purpose.

The Canadian Headache Society also recommends 400 mg/day riboflavin for migraine headache prevention, saying that although this recommendation is low-quality, there is some evidence for its benefit in stopping migraine headaches and the side effects (such as discolored urine) are minimal.

Cancer prevention

Some experts have come to the conclusion that riboflavin might help in preventing the DNA damage caused by many carcinogens by acting as a coenzyme with different cytochrome P450 enzymes. But, the correlation between riboflavin’s effect in cancer treatment or prevention is limited and studies are mixed.

Several large observational studies have produced opposing results about the riboflavin intakes and lung cancer risk.

One study followed 41,514 people who have smoked, who are smoking, and who had never been smoking, for 15 years. 

The average intake of vitamin B2 through all participants was 2.5 mg/day. The results have shown a significant contrary association between dietary riboflavin intake and lung cancer risk in the group of active smokers, but not with former smokers or those who never smoked.

Riboflavin’s effect on cancer is yet to be fully examined.

Vitamin B2 helps prevent cognitive decline

Vitamin B2 is connected with improved cognitive test scores in a primary school in Kenya. Consuming vitamin B2 as a dietary supplement helps you evolve better abstract performance and helps children develop more efficiently.

Vitamin B2 usage reduces depression

A study has shown that there was a riboflavin deficiency in every depressed subject. After taking vitamin B2, the patient had improved results on depression.

An increased intake of riboflavin means decreased symptoms of depression in girls but not for boys.

Vitamin B2 prevents cardiovascular diseases

Riboflavin effectively reduces blood pressure. Adult people who used riboflavin supplementation had reduced homocysteine, a chemical that causes heart disease. Combined with folate acid, vitamin B2 works on stopping cardiovascular diseases.

Vitamin B2 protects your bones

This study has shown that those who had the lowest intake of vitamin B2, had the greatest chances of getting a fracture.

Vitamin B2 ReviewHow it works/Functions

Vitamin B2 is essential for the proper metabolism of sugar, fat, and carbohydrates.

All vitamin B groups, or as they are often called the vitamin B-complex, allow energy to be released from sugar. This energy is necessary for the operation of nerve cells, cardiac muscle cells, and all other muscle cells, as well as the normal functioning of each individual cell in the body.

B vitamins are essential for healthy skin, hair, eyes, liver, nervous system, heart, muscles, immune system, in a word: for the whole body.

Vitamin B2 is essential for the release of energy in each cell, for maintaining the function of membranes, and for the growth of all cells.

All B vitamins are soluble in water, which means that it cannot be deposited, but it is secreted from the body. That’s why we need to consume them regularly.

In addition, vitamin B2 also acts as an antioxidant by eliminating free radicals and preventing damage to cells and tissues. Free radicals occur under the influence of radiation, chemicals, oxidation, aging, damaging DNA (genetic material), and contribute to the development of chronic heart disease, blood vessels, and nerves.

Riboflavin is needed to translate vitamins B6 and folic acid into active forms in the body. It allows the growth and development of the body, as well as the creation of red blood cells.

It’s believed that a versatile, balanced diet brings enough vitamin B2. Riboflavin is also used as a coloring agent for foodstuffs and is labeled E101.


The recommended dosage of riboflavin is different depending on age, gender, and even reproductive status.

“Nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods. … Foods in nutrient-dense forms contain essential vitamins and minerals and also dietary fiber and other naturally occurring substances that may have positive health effects. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing one or more nutrients that otherwise may be consumed in less-than-recommended amounts.” – stated by the federal government’s 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

1.3 mg of riboflavin daily for men so the metabolism and nervous system can be protected.

1.1 mg of riboflavin for women.

Pregnant women and lactating women should have a higher dosage of riboflavin, 1.4 mg/day and 1.6 mg/day.

A higher dosage of riboflavin, 3 mg/day can stop cataracts and an even higher dosage of 400 mg/day can be used to treat migraine headaches.


It’s wise to talk to a physician before taking any supplements with vitamin B2. They can disturb vitamin B2, and vitamin B2 supplements can impact the effectiveness of some drugs.

Drugs that can interfere with riboflavin are:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants, like imipramine, or Tofranil.
  • Some antipsychotic drugs, like a Thorazine.
  • Methotrexate, used for cancer and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Phenytoin, or Dilantin, used to control seizures.
  • Probenecid, used for gout.
  • Thiazide diuretics, or water pills.

Side Effects

There are no major side effects that can appear from using riboflavin. Vitamin B2 is considered safe. Probably because riboflavin’s solubility and capacity to be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract are limited. It’s not likely for an overdose to occur, because the body can absorb more than 27 milligrams of riboflavin, but it also expels any additional amount in the urine.

The University of Maryland Medical Center states that a large amount of riboflavin usage may lead to itching, numbness, yellow or orange urine and sensitivity to light.

Since you are most likely to get vitamin B2 in your body through diet, from yogurt, milk, and vegetables, there is no major side effect or toxicity level.


Since I have struggled with a sore throat and migraine headaches, I started using riboflavin supplements and eating dietary products that have vitamin B2 in them. The result was very effective.

Over time, my throat started to recover, my head didn’t hurt so bad anymore, and I was able to focus more on my everyday tasks. Vitamin B2 also helped my skin, bones and high blood pressure. At the time I didn’t know that vitamin B2 helps with that as well.

I recommend eating food that has vitamin B2 in it because it will help you focus better and will have long-term effects on your well-being.

Where to buy

It’s very easy to get hold of vitamin B2. Eggs, milk, grain, and plants are full of vitamins. Just go to your local store and buy whatever dietary products you want. You can also buy it as a capsule or tablet, as it is a very common dietary supplement.


Vitamin B2 is a crucial part of your diet, just like every vitamin. It helps you metabolize sugar, fats, and carbohydrates a bunch, prevents cataracts and migraine headaches. It can help you focus better and overcome the depression.

It affects the absorption of iron and helps the body to transform vitamin B6 and folate acid into usable forms. It has no threatening side effects that can disrupt your metabolism or body. Overall, it is a vital element for your body that should be consumed daily.


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