Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
What is it?
Riboflavin is used for preventing low levels of riboflavin (riboflavin deficiency), cervical cancer, and migraine headaches. It is also used for treating riboflavin deficiency, acne, muscle cramps, burning feet syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, and blood disorders such as congenital methemoglobinemia and red blood cell aplasia. Some people use riboflavin for eye conditions including eye fatigue, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Other uses include increasing energy levels; boosting immune system function; maintaining healthy hair, skin, mucous membranes, and nails; slowing aging; boosting athletic performance; promoting healthy reproductive function; canker sores; memory loss, including Alzheimer’s disease; ulcers; burns; alcoholism; liver disease; sickle cell anemia; and treating lactic acidosis brought on by treatment with a class of AIDS medications called NRTI drugs.
How effective is it?
The effectiveness ratings for RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2) are as follows:
- Preventing and treating riboflavin deficiency and conditions related to riboflavin deficiency.
Possibly effective for…
- Preventing migraine headaches. Taking high-dose riboflavin (400 mg/day) seems to significantly reduce the number of migraine headache attacks. However, taking riboflavin does not appear to reduce the amount of pain or the amount of time a migraine headache lasts.
- Preventing cataracts, an eye disorder.
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…
- Lactic acidosis (a serious blood-acid imbalance) in people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). There is preliminary clinical evidence that riboflavin may be useful for treating lactic acidosis in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) caused by drugs called nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI).
- Preventing cervical cancer. There is evidence that increasing riboflavin intake from dietary and supplement sources, along with thiamine, folic acid, and vitamin B12, might decrease the risk of developing precancerous spots on the cervix.
- Muscle cramps.
- Boosting the immune system.
- Maintaining healthy skin and hair.
- Canker sores.
- Memory loss including Alzheimer’s disease.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of riboflavin for these uses.
How does it work?
Are there safety concerns?
Special precautions & warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Riboflavin is LIKELY SAFE for pregnant or breast-feeding women when taken in the amounts recommended. The recommended amounts are 1.4 mg per day for pregnant women and 1.6 mg per day in breast-feeding women. Not enough is known about the safety of taking larger doses during pregnancy or breast-feeding.
Are there interactions with medications?
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
Are there interactions with foods?
What dose is used?
- For treating low levels of riboflavin (riboflavin deficiency) in adults: 5-30 mg of riboflavin (Vitamin B2) daily in divided doses.
- For preventing migraine headaches: 400 mg of riboflavin (Vitamin B2) per day. It may take up to three months to get best results.
- For preventing cataracts: a daily dietary intake of approximately 2.6 mg of riboflavin (Vitamin B2) has been used. A combination of 3 mg of riboflavin (Vitamin B2) plus 40 mg of niacin daily has also been used.
- The daily recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) of riboflavin (Vitamin B2) are: Infants 0-6 months, 0.3 mg; infants 7-12 months, 0.4 mg; children 1-3 years, 0.5 mg; children 4-8 years, 0.6 mg; children 9-13 years, 0.9 mg; men 14 years or older, 1.3 mg; women 14-18 years, 1 mg; women over 18 years, 1.1 mg; pregnant women, 1.4 mg; and breastfeeding women, 1.6 mg.