What is Vitamin B2?

Also known by the name of riboflavin, vitamin B2 belongs to the 8 B vitamins group. It is water soluble and is required for a number of cellular processes in the body.

Functions of Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 plays a key role in a number of ways:

  • Metabolizes fats and proteins in the body.
  • It is required for the maintenance of healthy skin, eyes, liver and hair.
  • It helps in the proper functioning of the nervous system.
  • Required for the normal growth, cell function and red blood cell production.
  • Vitamin B2 also acts as antioxidant which fights free radicals and prevents cancer.
  • It is used in the treatment of acne, burning feet, muscle cramps, blood disorders, eye fatigue, cataracts etc.
  • It boosts the immune system of the body.
  • It is important for normal vision.
  • Increases the energy levels of the body.
  • It is further needed to activate vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and helps other B vitamins to change into forms needed for the body.

 Deficiency of Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 deficiency may result in

  • Cracks and sores at the corner of the mouth
  • Skin injuries
  • Dermatitis
  • Insomnia
  • Poor digestion
  • Retarded growth
  • Light sensitivity
  • Burning feet
  • Hair loss
  • Dizziness
  • Eye disorders, blurred vision, itching, watery eyes, bloodshot eyes etc.
  • Swollen tongue, throat swelling and soreness.

Food Sources if Vitamin B2


  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt are good sources of vitamin B2.
  •  You will get vitamin B2 in eggs, fish, poultry, meat, liver.
  • Whole grains, wheat germ, wild rice, flour, cereals, soybeans, almonds are also rich in vitamin B2.
  • Mushrooms, broccoli, sprouts, turnip greens, and spinach are also good dietary sources of vitamin B2.

Recommended Dietary Allowance of Vitamin B2


Age Group Adequate Intake mg/day
Infants0-6 months7-12 months  0.3mg0.4mg
Children 1-3 years4-8 years  0.5mg0.6mg
Males9-13 years14 – 18

19 years and older



Females9-13 years14-18 years

19 years and older



Pregnant Females 1.4mg
Breastfeeding Females 1.6mg


Tips and Warnings: 

  • It should be remembered that the Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is easily destroyed by exposure to light and hence, food enriched in vitamin B2 should be kept away in dark areas.
  • Vitamin B2 is also destroyed when soaked or boiled in water.
  • It is however not destroyed by heat.
  • Vitamin B2 is not generally harmful however; intake of high doses of vitamin B2, say above 10 mg may result in eye damage when exposed to the sun. Hence, people who take high doses of vitamin B2 should always wear sunglasses when going out in the sun.
  • Though it usually does not have any side effects but, very high doses and prolonged intake may cause itching, prickling sensations, burning sensation, numbness, yellow urine, sensitivity to light.
  • Prolong intake may also result in imbalance of other vitamins in the body.
  • It is best to take Vitamin B2 with B group of vitamins and vitamin C.