Vitamin B2 is a water-soluble vitamin needed to process amino acids and fats, activate vitamin B6 and folic acid, and help convert carbohydrates into the fuel the body runs on—adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Under some conditions, vitamin B2 can act as an antioxidant.
Vitamin B2 has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):
|Science Ratings||Health Concerns|
Anemia (if deficient)
High homocysteine (for people with a specific genetic makeup)
Night blindness (if deficient)
Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.
Vitamin B2 deficiency can occur in alcoholics. Also, a deficiency may be more likely in people with cataracts1 2 or sickle cell anemia.3 In developing countries, vitamin B2 deficiency has been found to be a risk factor for the development of preeclampsia in pregnant women.4 People with chronic fatigue syndrome may be deficient in vitamin B2.5
The ideal level of intake is not known. The amounts found in many multivitamin supplements (20–25 mg) are more than adequate for most people.
At supplemental and dietary levels, vitamin B2 is nontoxic.
Are there any drug
Certain medicines may interact with vitamin B2. Refer to drug interactions for a list of those medicines.
1. Bhat KS. Nutritional status of thiamine, riboflavin and pyridoxine in cataract patients. Nutr Rep Int 1987;36:685–92.
2. Prchal JT, Conrad ME, Skalka HW. Association of presenile cataracts with heterozygosity for galactosaemic states and with riboflavin deficiency. Lancet 1978;1:12–3.
3. Varma RN, Mankad VN, Phelps DD, et al. Depressed erythrocyte glutathione reductase activity in sickle cell disease. Am J Clin Nutr 1983;38:884–7.
4. Wacker J, Fruhauf J, Schulz M, et al. Riboflavin deficiency and preeclampsia. Obstet Gynecol 2000;96:38–44.
5. Heap LC, Peters TJ, Wessely S. Vitamin B status in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. J R Soc Med 1999;92:183–5.
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The information presented in Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires September 2008.