Vitamin of the Month – Vitamin B2

As you all know, it’s been April for a while, and sadly our vitamin of the month has been pushed to the wayside due to my busy schedule! Luckily there is still enough of April left for us to celebrate the month of Vitamin B2, otherwise known at Riboflavin!

Riboflavin is one of several B vitamins (8 to be exact) that make up the B-complex (all of which are water-soluble). Last month in March we discussed thiamin (vitamin B1) so now we are on to vitamin B2! Riboflavin is derived from the Latin word “flavin” meaning yellow. If you have ever taken a B-complex vitamin, it is the riboflavin that is responsible for turning your urine a fluorescent yellow color (this is not a harmful effect, your body is simply excreting the excess riboflavin that you don’t need).


(yes, that is my new pride and joy – local milk from Kilgus Farmstead in Fairbury, IL about 2 hours south of Chicago!)

Riboflavin is found in animal products – meat, eggs, and most popularly, milk. If you do not consume animal products as part of your diet, not to worry. Riboflavin is also in a number of enriched breakfast cereals and legumes such as kidney beans. Riboflavin is sensitive to light exposure. Ever wonder why milk is stored in opaque gallon jugs at the supermarket? It is so the riboflavin within the milk stays in tact! Riboflavin is important for energy metabolism and the building of new tissue within your body.

The recommended daily allowance for riboflavin is 1.1 mg/day for females and 1.3 mg/day for males. To put this into perspective, 1 cup of milk has about 0.4 milligrams (mg) of riboflavin, an 8 oz yogurt has 0.5 mg, and most ready-to-eat cereals have about 0.4 mg.

Deficiency in riboflavin, while rare, results in a disease called ariboflavinosis (without riboflavin). Araboflavinosis is characterized by a cluster of symptoms including the formation of lesions on the corner of the mouth, inflammation of the tongue, redness and inflammation of the mouth, and nerve dysfunction. Individuals potentially at risk for deficiency include people who experience decreased food intake such as cancer patients, the elderly, and alcoholics.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is no established maximum amount of riboflavin that can be taken. In fact, high doses of riboflavin are often used to treat migraine headaches. Studies have shown that individuals who supplemented with 400 mg of riboflavin over the course of 1 month experienced migraines less frequently and a decrease in duration of their migraine attacks.

Like all vitamins, riboflavin is an important part of a balanced diet, so be sure to drink a glass of milk and incorporate riboflavin rich foods into your diet this April!


  1. Local milk?! Does this place also supply local eggs? I’m on a mission to find some!


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