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Riboflavin: What You Should Know

Sources, Benefits, Forms, Dosage 

What is Riboflavin?

Riboflavin is one of the thirteen essential vitamins, and also one of the eight B vitamins, Vitamin B2. Essential vitamins need to be present in the diet because the human body cannot make the nutrients on its own, or in sufficient amounts to sustain normal and healthy bodily functions.1 Riboflavin is considered an essential vitamin due to its many physiological health benefits, and along with being essential it is also water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin C and the eight B vitamins dissolve in water and are not stored in the liver or fatty-tissue like with fat-soluble vitamins.1 Since water-soluble vitamins are easily flushed out of the body it is uncommon to develop toxic side effects.

Benefits of Riboflavin – There are many

Riboflavin is important for energy metabolism and production to carry on daily leisure activities.1 It is also involved in the activation and synthesis of certain micronutrients such as vitamin A, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin K, and neurotransmitters.1 Riboflavin is also involved in cellular growth, development, and function.2

In addition to cellular health benefits, research suggests that riboflavin may aid in the prevention of migraine headaches.2 Some migraines are thought to be induced by mitochondrial dysfunction in body cells, and mitochondria needs riboflavin to properly function.2 Research also shows that riboflavin may help prevent certain diseases such as cancer.2

The different forms of Riboflavin

Riboflavin can be found in its free form, which synthesizes the biologically active coenzyme forms flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), which are both important for metabolism, and many bodily reactions.1 Riboflavin in its free form is only found in small amounts of food sources, as the coenzyme FAD is the form mostly found in dietary sources.3 Since riboflavin in most food sources consists of the coenzyme forms, to be absorbed it must convert from the FAD or FMN coenzymes or bound forms into it’s free form.3 The bioavailability is similar between all of these forms.2


The video below explains more about vitamin B2, riboflavin and why it is so important to our health.

Sources of Riboflavin – From food and nutrition supplements

Riboflavin is typically stable during food preparation and when exposed to heat from cooking, however, it is sensitive to light so it is best to store in opaque containers.1,4 Another way to preserve the nutrient content it to avoid combing riboflavin with backing soda.1,4

Absorption of riboflavin is more efficient from animal dietary sources rather than plant.Dietary sources rich in riboflavin include beef liver, dairy products, mushrooms, eggs, milk, leafy green vegetables, and enriched grain products.1,2,5 Food sources that are enriched undergo a fortification of certain nutrients, such as riboflavin, four of the B vitamins, and iron that may have been lost during food processing.1

When supplemented, riboflavin is normally found in its free form in multivitamins, multiminerals, or B-complex vitamins.2 Supplements may effect urine pigmentation resulting in an un-harmful bright yellow color, as the vitamin itself has a bright yellow color.1,2

Recommended daily dose of Riboflavin – What physicians advise

The recommended daily dose for nutrients is unique to a person’s age, gender, and other personal factors. The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) established a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for riboflavin as a reference to meet the needs of healthy individuals. For infants the RDA has not been established, but an adequate intake (AI) level of 0.3 – 0.4 mg has been set as a guideline for nutritional adequacy. The RDA for thiamin for healthy adults is 1.3 mg/day for men and 1.1 mg/day for women.1 Pregnant and nursing women have a recommended dose between 1.4 – 1.6 mg as it is critical for these women to consume adequate amounts of riboflavin during pregnancy to protect the fetus, even when no deficiency symptoms are present.6

Riboflavin intake can alter the nutrient’s bioavailability. When riboflavin intakes are low that is when the vitamin is most bioavailable as opposed to when intakes are high the absorption process for this nutrient is much slower.1

Recommended Dietary Allowance
(RDA) Riboflavin
Infants (0 – 12 months) 0.3 – 0.4 mg/day AI
Children (1 -8 years) 0.5 – 0.6 mg/day
Adolescents (9 – 18 years) 0.9 – 1 .3mg/day
Adults (19+ years) 1.1 – 1.3 mg/day
Pregnant and Lactating Women 1.4 – 1.6 mg/day

Table 1: Daily Riboflavin Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) to Meet the Needs of Healthy Individuals4

Certain populations may need to be more mindful when evaluating their riboflavin needs. It is recommended for athletes or those who vigorously and frequently exercise may need to increase their daily riboflavin consumption.4 Riboflavin does not have any known drug interactions, but with any particular medication or health condition it is always best to consult with your primary healthcare provider before taking the Healthycell® products or any nutrition supplement.

Riboflavin toxicity – Very rare

As riboflavin is a water-soluble B vitamin it is easily flushed out of the body when consumed in excess amounts. Since it not stored in fat cells of fatty tissue it does not have any known toxic effects. The only known side effect with high riboflavin intakes is un-harmful bright yellow urine pigmentation, as riboflavin’s color is naturally a fluorescent yellow.1,2 As riboflavin is considered non-toxic, a maximum daily consumption level that may cause an adverse event, or a tolerable upper intake level (UL) has not been established.1

Riboflavin deficiency, symptoms, and people at risk

Riboflavin deficiency is very rare within the United States but can occur in certain individuals whom are alcoholics, abuse drugs, malnourished vegetarian/vegan athletes, or diagnosed with hypothyroidism.1,2,4 Riboflavin deficiency is more commonly seen in populations that do not eat enough dairy products and meat as these food groups supply a lot of riboflavin to the diet.2,3 Typically, if a person is riboflavin deficient other micronutrient deficiencies are also present.1,2

Riboflavin deficiency, ariboflavinosis, includes symptoms of dermatitis, mouth sores, oral inflammation, confusion, and fatigue.1,4 If the deficiency is prolonged and left untreated, certain health conditions such as cataracts and anemia may develop.2

Riboflavin in Healthycell® Pro – Only the best 

The source of riboflavin,Vitamin B2 in Healthycell® Pro and Healthycell is riboflavin-5-phosphate. The dosage of riboflavin is 4.5 mg in the morning formula and 4.5 mg in the evening formula, for a daily dose of 9 mg, satisfying 530% of the Daily Value (%DV). Nutrition supplement labeling and food labeling guidelines use Reference Daily Intake (RDI) as the standard for dosage.


1. McGuire, Michelle, PhD, and Kathy Beerman A., PhD. “Chapter 10 Water-Soluble Vitamins.”

Nutritional Sciences: From Fundamentals to Food. 2nd ed. Australia: Thomson/Wadsworth,

  1. 449-451. Print.

2. “Riboflavin — Health Professional Fact Sheet.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department

of Health & Human Services, 11 Feb. 2016. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

3. Powers, Hilary J. “Riboflavin (vitamin B-2) and Health1,2.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition77.6 (2003): 1352-360. American Society for Clinical Nutrition. Web.

4. Brasaemle, Dawn, PhD. “Thiamin Niacin Riboflavin Lecture.” Rutgers University – Riboflavin.

New Brunswick. 2015. Lecture

5. Marcason, Wendy, RDN. “What Are B-Vitamins and Folate?” Ear Right. Academy of

Nutrition and Dietetics, 14 Dec. 2015. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.

6. Balch, Phyllis A., CNC. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. 4th ed. New York: Avery, Print.

7. “Your Organic Source for Energy.” Orgen-B® | Organic B Vitamins | Orgen® Family. N.p.,

n.d. Web. 21 June 2017.