Vitamin B2

The A-B-C's of Vitamin Supplements

Peer Reviewed

Woman holding her forehead with a headacheVitamin B2 (also known as riboflavin) may help prevent and may be used to treat migraine headaches, cataracts, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain skin disorders such as acne (acne rosacea), dermatitis, and eczema. In the treatment of anemia, adding vitamin B2 to iron supplements has shown to increase its effectiveness.

Additionally, riboflavin aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It plays an important role in the growth and repair of joints, skin, hair, and nails. The body needs vitamin B2 for reproduction and it also enhances the immune system's ability to fight disease.

Dosage Guidelines
Vitamin B2 is available in most multi- and B-complex vitamin products. When planning to take vitamin B2 for the treatment of cataracts, consult with a medical professional first to determine the proper dose. Always consult with a medical professional prior to giving to a child.

The RDA allowances are as follows:

  • Men — age 14 years or older 1.3 mg per day
  • Women — age 14 to 19 years 1.0 mg per day
  • Pregnant Women 1.4 mg per day
  • Nursing Mothers 1.6 mg per day
  • Children — age 1 to 3 years 0.5 mg per day*
  • Children — age 4 to 8 years 0.6 mg per day*
  • Children — age 9 to 13 years 0.9 mg per day*

*Always consult with a medical professional prior to giving Vitamin B2 to a child.

Sources of Vitamin B2
High levels of vitamin B2 are found in the following foods: cheese, egg yolks, almonds, organ meats, whole grains, wild rice, soybeans, milk, spinach, mushrooms, almonds, and poultry. Vitamin B2 is usually added to cereals and flour products by food manufacturers. Keep these foods stored away from light to protect vitamin content.

High doses of riboflavin are known to reduce the effectiveness methotrexate (an anticancer drug) and cause sensitivity to light, numbness, burning or prickly feelings.

Certain drugs may interfere with the effectiveness of vitamin B2: estrogen, sulfa, antimalarial medications, and cathartic agents (ie, bowel cleansers).

Taking too much riboflavin (more than 50 mg per day) over a long period may lead to cataracts and retinal disease.

Disclaimer: Many people report feeling improvement in their condition and/or general well-being taking dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements. The Editorial Board of, however, cannot endorse such products since most lack peer-reviewed scientific validation of their claims. In most cases an appropriate diet and a "multiple vitamin" will provide the necessary dietary supplements for most individuals. Prior to taking additional dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements it is recommended that patients consult with their personal physician to discuss their specific supplement requirements.

Updated on: 03/08/16
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Thomas G. Lowe, MD
While some patients have reported improvement after taking this supplement, the Editorial Board is unable to endorse the supplement due to the lack of peer reviewed scientific literature indicating its efficacy for treating spinal conditions. Patients should consult their physician before starting a supplement program.
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