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The Energy Vitamins: Vitamin B2/Riboflavin


Vitamin B2, part of the B-complex vitamins, is crucial to metabolise carbohydrates into energy used for fuel by all the cells.


What does it do?

Vitamin B2 (with the other B-complex vitamins) is important for body growth and red blood cell (necessary for oxygen transport) production. Vitamin B2 also acts as an antioxidant. An antioxidant (anti=against & oxidant=abnormal oxygen) fights free radicals (particles that can damage cells) in the body. Therefore vitamin B2 may support longevity and heart health.


Vitamin B2 food sources:

  • Dairy productsVitamin B2: Milk
  • Eggs
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Meat
  • Legumes
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Fortified breads & cereal (fortified = the vitamin has been added to the food)


Interesting fact: vitamin B2 is reduced by exposure to light, therefore store B2 rich food in dark containers/places.


B2 deficiency

Symptoms of B2 deficiency may include:

  • Anaemia
  • Mouth or lip sores
  • Skin disorders
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling of mucous linings


Is it possible to take too much vitamin B2?

There is no known over dosage, because the B-complex vitamins are water soluble and can be excreted from the body in the urine, if high dosages are taken.



Important note: The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for micronutrients was developed many year ago as the minimum daily requirement of vitamins and minerals needed to prevent the vitamin deficiency diseases. However, for a micronutrient to act in a way to ensure optimal health and wellbeing, the quantities must be much higher. In this article and the articles that will follow, we will focus on the amounts needed for optimal health, and NOT the amounts needed to prevent vitamin deficiency diseases.

The recommended dosage for B2 is merely a guideline as individual needs may differ. Some people may need more, others less. Age and gender also affect the amount of the vitamin needed for optimal health. This is merely a guideline or aid to simplify your choices when looking for a good quality food supplement.


So how much B2 should you take for optimal health?

Take 25-50mg daily of B2 (and each of the other B-vitamins) for optimal health


Important: If you use a supplement that contains other micronutrients in the ingredient list (for e.g. a multivitamin & multimineral), remember that combination and synergy (co-operation) of vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients are more important than the quantities of single micronutrients. If the quantity of B2 is less in your supplement but the supplement contains a number of other micronutrients, you can use less of each ingredient (for example 10-20mg B1 per day for a young adult or teen).


Vitamin B2 is essential support for the body to produce enough energy for cellular fuel, and is crucial in the production of red blood cells. Therefore, make sure you take enough every day for optimal health and wellbeing!.


  • Dr A van der Merwe. Health & Happiness. HSM Publishers. 3rd edition. 2013; available from:
  • Escott-Stump S, ed. Nutrition and Diagnosis-Related Care. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008.
  • SarubinFragaakis A, Thomson C. The Health Professional’s Guide to Popular Dietary Supplements. 3rd ed. Chicago, Il: American Dietetic Association; 2007.
  • Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1998.


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