March 15, 2021

Riboflavin B2


Riboflavin participates in a diversity of redox reactions central to human metabolism, and inadequate intake of riboflavin may have negative implications for energy production and maintenance (1). Vegetarians, vegans, athletes, and pregnant and lactating women are all populations at higher risk of riboflavin deficiency and should thereby take more precaution in ensuring that their daily intake is fulfilled.

Riboflavin deficiency interferes with the metabolism of other nutrients because flavoenzymes* are directly linked to the metabolism of fat and water-soluble vitamins including B-12, folate, niacin, vitamin K and vitamin D. Deficiency also compromises oxidant defense mechanisms by interfering with the maintenance of reduced GSH (glutathione), the master antioxidant within cells** (2). 

*catalyze a variety of redox reactions, which are needed to convert food and oxygen into energy 
**antioxidants are needed within cells to balance free radicals, protecting them from damage 
  1. Hilary J Powers, Riboflavin (vitamin B-2) and health, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 77, Issue 6, June 2003, Pages 1352–1360,
  2. Pinto JT, Zempleni J. Riboflavin. Adv Nutr. 2016;7(5):973‐975. Published 2016 Sep 15. doi:10.3945/an.116.012716


Eye Health:

Riboflavin plays an essential role in the prevention of cataract formation by acting as a cofactor for glutathione reductase, the enzyme responsible for the production of glutathione* (this protects the lens proteins against oxidative damage). In a case control study examining riboflavin intake on cataracts, researchers found significantly decreased risk of age-related cataract (33-55%) in men and women in the highest quintile of dietary riboflavin intake (median=1.6 to 2.2 mg/day) compared to the lowest quintile (median=0.08 mg/day) (1).

*key antioxidant produced in cells 
  1. Mares-Perlman JA, Brady WE, Klein BE, et al. Diet and nuclear lens opacities. Am J Epidemiol. 1995;141(4):322-334.  (PubMed)

Brain Function:

It is suggested that a mitochondrial dysfunction* resulting in imapired oxygen metabolism** plays a role in the onset of headaches, specifically migraines. Riboflavin has been shown to reverse this process, allowing it to be relatively effective in the prevention of headaches and migraines. It has also been hypothesized through this evidence that an increase in riboflavin availability may improve brain mitochondrial functions (also potentially aiding to prevent headaches and migraines) (1)(2).

*loss in efficiency of the electron transport chain that helps the body to generate sources of energy (ATP) 
**the reaction of food molecules with oxygen, allowing cells to obtain energy in the form of ATP
  1. Yorns WR, Jr., Hardison HH. Mitochondrial dysfunction in migraine. Semin Pediatr Neurol 2013;20:188-93. [PubMed abstract]
  2. Di Lorenzo C, Pierelli F, Coppola G, Grieco GS, Rengo C, Ciccolella M, et al. Mitochondrial DNA haplogroups influence the therapeutic response to riboflavin in migraineurs. Neurology 2009;72:1588-94. [PubMed abstract]


Poor riboflavin status interferes with iron handling and utilization, and contributes to the onset of anemia when intakes are low. Riboflavin alone without additional iron supplement has been shown to improve hematologic* status in young women in the United Kingdom, thereby suggesting that sufficient riboflavin intake is a component involved in anemia prevention among this population (1).

*blood regulation 
  1. Hilary J Powers, Marilyn H Hill, Sohail Mushtaq, Jack R Dainty, Gosia Majsak-Newman, Elizabeth A Williams, Correcting a marginal riboflavin deficiency improves hematologic status in young women in the United Kingdom (RIBOFEM), The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 93, Issue 6, June 2011, Pages 1274–1284,


Our Riboflavin (B2) is obtained from quinoa sprouts germinated with b-complex. During the germination process of the quinoa, the b-vitamins are incorporated into the quinoa seeds and available in their free form; they are also available in their biologically active form, allowing for proper absorption. 

Research conducted at the University of Scranton (Pennsylvania) USA has demonstrated that natural vitamins, as a result of their bioavailability, are superior to synthetic vitamins; Vitamin B2 derived from natural sources is 1.49 times higher than that of synthetic vitamin B2.


Does riboflavin change urine color?

Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning it dissolves in water. Water soluble vitamins include the b-vitamin complex and vitamin C, and any excess will be excreted through the kidneys as urine. High doses of vitamins can turn your urine a bright, neon-yellow, the most common culprit being vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Riboflavin contains flavins, which are naturally occurring yellow pigments. While there is no reason for concern, bright yellow urine after taking supplements (especially containing b-complex) could be a sign that your body is not absorbing the vitamins efficiently. 

What is the main function of riboflavin?

Vitamin B2 is primarily responsible for breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and is a vital component in maintaining the body’s energy supply. Riboflavin converts carbohydrates into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which produces energy for the body as needed. 

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