Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin

Vitamin B2 is technically called as Riboflavin. It is one of the vitamins which is easily absorbed by the body. It is a very significant vitamin and plays an important role in maintaining goodl health. Most cellular processes depends on Vitamin B2. It got its name from ribose (ribose sugar) and plays a vital role in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins.

Riboflavin is orange in color, so people who consume vitamin supplements (especially B-complex supplements) might find their urine to be orange in color the next day after consuming the supplement. The reason is excess riboflavin is sent out of the body through urine as vitamin B complex are water soluble.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – Sources

Vitamin B2 - Leafy Green VegetablesVitamin B2 is present in both plant and animal sources. Asparagus, corn, bananas, okra (also called as lady’s finger), wheatgrass, cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, buttermilk and green beans, leafy green vegetables, legumes, tomatoes, mushrooms and almonds.

Riboflavin is easily destroyed by any exposure to sunlight (the uv radiation in sunlight). So it is better to preserve the above sources in opaque containers or consume them fresh.

Biological Functions of Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 is required by the body on an every day basis to maintain good metabolism levels. The important biological functions of Vitamin B2 are:[checklist]

  • It is the central component of the cofactors FAD and FMNt
  • Helps in the generation of important enzymes
  • Maintains Cellular function
  • Maintain sensitive tissues like mouth, eyes and mucous membrane
  • Maintains skin health[/checklist]

Vitamin B2- Deficiency

Riboflavin is one of the vitamins which is continuously excreted in the urine. Hence it is important to replinish our body with regular supply of correct mount of vitamin B2.

A vitamin B2 deficiency (ariboflavinosis) may lead to cracked and red lips, inflammation of the lining throat and tongue and ulcers in mouth. A vitamin B2 deficiency will also result in a scaly skin and anemia. Some people experience itchy eyes and they keep rubbing their eyes resulting in redness of eyes.

In elderly people a vitamin B2 deficiency might result in cardio-vascular complications as well.

Vitamin B2 – Requirements and supplements

On an average for a normal individual the daily requirement of Vitamin B2 is 1.2 mg/day. Men need slightly more than women. However pregnant and lactating women should consume more (around 1.4 mg/day).

Vitamin B2 overdose is relatively rare as the excess riboflavin is readily excreted in the urine. We always recommend natural sources of nutrients. However if you don’t have access to fresh vegetables and fruits and other sources rich in vitamin B2, you can opt for a supplement. Read more about the risks involved using a supplement before opting for supplements.

About the author


Ajithkumar, an Engineer and a management professional is the founder of He’s practiced Yoga and Pranayama for more than a decade, after learning it from his renowned guru Gireeshan. He has a keen interest in Ayurveda and Siddha medicine.