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Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): foods, benefits & RDA

Siski Green / 03 February 2022

Vitamin B2 is vital for maintaining your energy levels as it helps breakdown the proteins, fats and carbohydrates your body needs.

Bowl of breakfast cereal
Breakfast cereal is a good source of vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 is also known as riboflavin and is one of the most important vitamins in relation to energy.

What is vitamin B2 used for and does it really work?

Vitamin B2 helps process nutrients and so being deficient in it can have a knock-on effect on many other aspects of health. It helps produce new red blood cells and supports cellular function throughout the body. As it helps breakdown nutrients such as fats, proteins and carbohydrates it also has a noticeable impact on your energy levels. There is also some research suggesting that supplements may help lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease in people who are susceptible.

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What’s the best way to take vitamin B2?

There are a wide range of foods containing reasonable levels of vitamin B2 – beef, pork, dairy products, fish, mushrooms, spinich, almonds, and avocados. However, you should be aware that some of the vitamin content may be lost if exposed to light. Some staple foods are also fortified with B2 too – cereals, bread, and pasta, for example. And, interestingly, it’s the only water-soluble vitamin used as food colouring – yellow – so you might ingest small quantities via foods that are coloured too.

Where can I get vitamin B2?

As vitamin B2 is found in a variety of foods it’s easiest to get it via a healthy varied diet, but you can also take a supplement containing B2 (ideally along with other B vitamins).

What are the side effects and contraindications of taking vitamin B2?

An excessive intake of B2 can cause your urine to turn a darker yellow than usual. You may notice this if you take a supplement. An excessive intake can have a negative impact on the liver and even damage it. While excessive intake via food would be difficult, it is possible if you take supplements orally or have an injection. Even so, the body usually discharges any excess so the risk is low.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.