Vitamin B2

Riboflavin is the common name for vitamin B2. Riboflavin aids in vision quality, helps to release energy from foods, and improves the health of hair, skin, and fingernails. In addition, riboflavin has been shown to boost immune system functioning, energy levels, and athletic performance. Since it is a water-soluble vitamin, it cannot be stored in the body and needs to be consumed daily.

How much do I need?

  • 1.3 milligrams per day for adult men
  • 1.1 milligrams per day for adult women
  • Conditions such as burns, cancer, liver disease, high stress problems, alcoholism and overactive thyroid require more riboflavin.
  • For recommendations for infants, children, and teens, check out the chart in CSU Extension’s Fact Sheet: Water-Soluble Vitamins: B-Complex and Vitamin C.

Food sources

Riboflavin can be found in eggs, milk, liver, nuts, and enriched flour products. There are also significant amounts of riboflavin in legumes, whole grain products, and dark green vegetables such as spinach or collard greens.

What happens if I don’t get enough?

In general, riboflavin deficiencies are not common in the United States. Deficiencies that do occur are most common among the elderly and individuals suffering from hyperthyroidism, malignancy, or alcoholism. Symptoms of deficiency include cracks at the corners of the mouth, dermatitis on nose and lips, light sensitivity, cataracts, and a sore, red tongue.

Can I get too much?

There are no known risks of getting too much riboflavin into your body, although very high amounts may cause diarrhea and increased amounts of urine.

Did You Know?

Most plant and animal products contain some riboflavin. Also, most wheat breads and flours in the United States have been enriched with riboflavin, as well as iron, thiamin, and niacin.