Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is part of the B-complex – the “stress fighting” family of water-soluble vitamins. Given that this vitamin is widely available in the food supply and a relatively low amount is required for health, most individuals are not lacking in vitamin B2. Any excess riboflavin is not stored in the body but excreted in the urine as a yellow-green fluorescent hue.
Riboflavin plays a key role in energy production. Not surprisingly, the highest concentration of this vitamin occurs in metabolically active tissue including the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Riboflavin regenerates glutathione, an enzyme that plays an important role in protecting cells from reactive oxygen species such as free-radicals.
Riboflavin interacts with thiamin or B-1 and helps maintain the supplies of other b-vitamins. As a result, the B vitamins should be taken together as a b-complex.
Supports energy production
Protects cells from oxygen damage
Maintains other B-vitamins
Rich sources of riboflavin include Brewer’s yeast and organ meats (liver, kidney, heart). Good plant sources include almonds, mushrooms, whole grains, soybeans, green leafy vegetables and tomatoes. Other good sources include milk, cheese, egg yolks and yogurt.
The majority of B2 is lost during processing of whole wheat flour. As a result, the government requires that processed wheat flour be enriched with riboflavin. For this reason, wheat based products are the primary source of vitamin B2 in the U.S.
Riboflavin is not destroyed by cooking or exposure to air but this vitamin is destroyed by light. Milk packaged in glass vs. opaque or carton containers loses its riboflavin content faster.
Recommended Dietary Allowance
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for riboflavin for adult men is 1.3 mg and for adult women is 1.1 mg. A Tolerable Upper Intake Level for vitamin B2 has not been determined due to lack of data due to adverse events.
If you look on a nutritional supplement facts panel, you’ll notice the Amount Per Serving for vitamin B2 and the % Daily Values is located at the top of the panel. The Amount Per Serving is based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for this nutrient which is considered to be sufficient to meet the requirements of nearly all (97–98%) healthy individuals in each life-stage and sex group. The Reference Daily Intake for vitamin B2 is 1.7 mg which represents 100% of the Daily Values.
Keep in mind, that the Daily Values is the amount considered sufficient to prevent disease. Many studies indicate that higher amounts of the B-complex including riboflavin are required to provide health benefits.
Excessive alcohol intake and heavy exercise can increase the body’s requirements for riboflavin.
Birth control pills, tetracycline, some anti-depressant drugs and anti-malaria medications can reduce the body’s supply of riboflavin.
Clinical Support Morning Formulation and Energy Support Formula are both formulated with 9 mg of riboflavin. Anti-Aging Formula is formulated with 6 mg of this B-vitamin. To enhance energy levels in the day, the riboflavin is incorporated into the morning daily packets.
Last updated July 1, 2018
David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.