Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is the scientific name for water-soluble vitamin B2. Good food sources of riboflavin include: fortified breads and cereals, milk, cheese, eggs, almonds, and spinach.1 The 100% Daily Value of Riboflavin (based on 2,000 kcal diet) is 1.7 mg,2 but it has been revised to 1.3 mg as of May 27, 2016.8 The 100% Daily Value for pregnant or lactating women is 1.6 mg, effective as of January 1st, 2020.8
- Riboflavin: Riboflavin is made from the simple carbohydrate, ribose, which is derived from the fermentation of starch from corn.
- Riboflavin-phosphate sodium: Riboflavin-phosphate sodium is a more water-soluble form of riboflavin. It is prepared by combining riboflavin with a phosphorus-containing compound.
Major Health Benefits
Riboflavin is required for the metabolism of energy yielding nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins/amino acids, and fats) and iron. It also functions in the development and maintenance of the nervous system, normal skin, mucous membranes, and red blood cells.3 Supplementing with riboflavin has been found to decrease the frequency and duration of migraine without serious side effects, especially under physical and mental stress.5,6 Riboflavin also may help prevent preeclampsia (high blood pressure, significant swelling (edema), and protein excretion in the urine) in pregnant woman.7
Riboflavin deficiency may lead to ariboflavinosis, which may include sore throat, sores around the perimeter of lips and mouth, and rough and oily skin (seborrheic dermatitis).4
Higdon, J. Riboflavin. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 2000. (Reviewed by McNulty, H in 2013) (Food Sources) http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/riboflavin Accessed 7/2015.
US Food and Drug Administration. Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide (14. Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients). US Department of Health and Human Services. 2013 January. http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm064928.htm
European Food Safety Authority. Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to riboflavin (vitamin B2) and contribution to normal energy-yielding metabolism, contribution to normal metabolism of iron, maintenance of normal skin and mucous membranes, contribution to normal psychological functions, maintenance of normal bone, maintenance of normal teeth, maintenance of normal hair, maintenance of normal nails, maintenance of normal vision, maintenance of normal red blood cells, reduction of tiredness and fatigue, protection of DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative damage, and maintenance of the normal function of the nervous system. EFSA Journal 2010;8(10):1814.
Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Riboflavin. Dietary Reference Intakes: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, Choline. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press; 1998: 87-122. (pp. 90)
Colombo B, Saraceno L, Comi G. Riboflavin and migraine: the bridge over troubled mitochondria. Neurol Sci. 2014 May;35 Suppl 1:141-4. PMID: 24867851.
Namazi N, Heshmati J, Tarighat-Esfanjani A. Supplementation with Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) for Migraine Prophylaxis in Adults and Children: A Review. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2015;85(1-2):79-87. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000225. Review. PubMed PMID: 26780280.
Higdon, J. Riboflavin. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 2000. (Reviewed by McNulty, H in 2013) (Deficiency)
US Food and Drug Administration. Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels. US Department of Health and Human Services. Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 103, p. 33982 / May 27, 2016. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/