Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

    Last Updated: July 15, 2024

    Riboflavin is an essential vitamin that is required for some enzymes in the body to act normally. Supplementation of riboflavin is not outright required with a good diet, but may serve some benefits for cardiovascular health in genetically susceptible people.

    Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) is most often used for .


    Vitamin B2 refers to the molecule known as riboflavin, which is a vitamin because it can produce two cofactors abbreviated as FAD and FMN. Some proteins in the body are dependent on these cofactors to function optimally and dietary riboflavin is the sole provider of FAD and FMN for these enzymes, which are called flavoproteins since FAD and FMN are 'flavins' and work in concert with these proteins.

    True deficiencies of riboflavin result in a condition known as ariboflavinosis, which is fairly rare in first world countries but characterized by various ailments of mucuous membranes (mouth and throat) and the skin as well as eye problems. Suboptimal deficiencies are somewhat prevalent although not common aside from a few groups, and for the most part do not result in any major health-threatening conditions.

    Groups that would benefit from riboflavin supplementation include adolescent and young adult women, particularly in the UK where riboflavin is not fortified in food to as high a level as in the US and Canada, and the elderly which tend to have less than optimal intakes of riboflavin.

    Beyond merely supporting a good riboflavin status, supplementation has a possible benefit for cardiovascular health in a certain population. People who have two copies of a certain gene, known as MTHFR 677TT, have a condition where homocysteine is abnormally elevated due to defects in folate metabolism. These people may experience reductions in blood pressure and homocysteine when riboflavin is supplemented at a low dose. Higher doses of riboflavin (at around 400mg taken in split doses throughout the day) may also have a therapeutic effect for migraines.

    Overall, riboflavin is a vitamin which someone could not ingest enough of if their diet is poor, yet a better diet could correct this. Supplementation is never mandatory but is likely prudent for people who are confirmed to be MTHFR 677TT or for anemics on iron repletion therapy (where optimizing riboflavin intake would aid the utility of supplemental iron).

    What are other names for Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

    Note that Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) is also known as:
    • Riboflavin
    • vitamin B2

    Dosage information

    Riboflavin, for the purpose of maintaining a sufficient riboflavin status in the body, can be supplemented at a relatively low dose of 1-2mg daily to support riboflavin stores in the body. Higher dose (4mg) may increase stores more rapidly but may perform equally over the long term, and these doses are also what should be taken for the purpose of reducing homocysteine concentrations.

    For the purpose of reducing migraines, while the optimal dose is not yet confirmed many studies use a total daily dose of 400mg riboflavin divided into various doses throughout the day; riboflavin at these doses (50mg or more) should be taken with food, a dosing modification which does not apply to lower dose supplementation which is fine on an empty stomach.

    Examine Database: Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

    Research FeedRead all studies


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    6. ^Kim YIFolate and colorectal cancer: an evidence-based critical reviewMol Nutr Food Res.(2007 Mar)
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    Examine Database References

    1. Homocysteine - McKinley MC, McNulty H, McPartlin J, Strain JJ, Scott JMEffect of riboflavin supplementation on plasma homocysteine in elderly people with low riboflavin statusEur J Clin Nutr.(2002 Sep)
    2. Homocysteine - Tavares NR, Moreira PA, Amaral TFRiboflavin supplementation and biomarkers of cardiovascular disease in the elderlyJ Nutr Health Aging.(2009 May)
    3. Homocysteine - Naghashpour M, Majdinasab N, Shakerinejad G, Kouchak M, Haghighizadeh MH, Jarvandi F, Hajinajaf SRiboflavin supplementation to patients with multiple sclerosis does not improve disability status nor is riboflavin supplementation correlated to homocysteineInt J Vitam Nutr Res.(2013)
    4. Homocysteine - McNulty H, Dowey le RC, Strain JJ, Dunne A, Ward M, Molloy AM, McAnena LB, Hughes JP, Hannon-Fletcher M, Scott JMRiboflavin lowers homocysteine in individuals homozygous for the MTHFR 677C->T polymorphismCirculation.(2006 Jan 3)
    5. Blood Pressure - Wilson CP, Ward M, McNulty H, Strain JJ, Trouton TG, Horigan G, Purvis J, Scott JMRiboflavin offers a targeted strategy for managing hypertension in patients with the MTHFR 677TT genotype: a 4-y follow-upAm J Clin Nutr.(2012 Mar)
    6. Blood Pressure - Horigan G, McNulty H, Ward M, Strain JJ, Purvis J, Scott JMRiboflavin lowers blood pressure in cardiovascular disease patients homozygous for the 677C-->T polymorphism in MTHFRJ Hypertens.(2010 Mar)
    7. Blood Pressure - Wilson CP, McNulty H, Ward M, Strain JJ, Trouton TG, Hoeft BA, Weber P, Roos FF, Horigan G, McAnena L, Scott JMBlood pressure in treated hypertensive individuals with the MTHFR 677TT genotype is responsive to intervention with riboflavin: findings of a targeted randomized trialHypertension.(2013 Jun)
    8. Migraine Symptoms - Condò M, Posar A, Arbizzani A, Parmeggiani ARiboflavin prophylaxis in pediatric and adolescent migraineJ Headache Pain.(2009 Oct)
    9. Migraine Symptoms - C Di Lorenzo, F Pierelli, G Coppola, G S Grieco, C Rengo, M Ciccolella, D Magis, M Bolla, C Casali, F M Santorelli, J SchoenenMitochondrial DNA haplogroups influence the therapeutic response to riboflavin in migraineursNeurology.(2009 May 5)
    10. Migraine Symptoms - Bruijn J, Duivenvoorden H, Passchier J, Locher H, Dijkstra N, Arts WFMedium-dose riboflavin as a prophylactic agent in children with migraine: a preliminary placebo-controlled, randomised, double-blind, cross-over trialCephalalgia.(2010 Dec)
    11. Migraine Symptoms - Boehnke C, Reuter U, Flach U, Schuh-Hofer S, Einhäupl KM, Arnold GHigh-dose riboflavin treatment is efficacious in migraine prophylaxis: an open study in a tertiary care centreEur J Neurol.(2004 Jul)
    12. Migraine Symptoms - Schoenen J, Jacquy J, Lenaerts MEffectiveness of high-dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis. A randomized controlled trialNeurology.(1998 Feb)
    13. Migraine Symptoms - Maizels M, Blumenfeld A, Burchette RA combination of riboflavin, magnesium, and feverfew for migraine prophylaxis: a randomized trialHeadache.(2004 Oct)
    14. Migraine Symptoms - MacLennan SC, Wade FM, Forrest KM, Ratanayake PD, Fagan E, Antony JHigh-dose riboflavin for migraine prophylaxis in children: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trialJ Child Neurol.(2008 Nov)