Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

How much you need each day:

  • 1.1mg for adult women
  • 1.3mg for adult men

Why you need it:

Vitamin B2 helps to release the energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

It’s also necessary for growth and is needed for healthy eyes, skin, hair and nails.

Because this vitamin forms part of the enzymes that are needed for energy metabolism, you may need more if you are using up lots of energy.

Good food sources:

Milk, cheese, yoghurt, eggs, meats and offal are among the best sources of this vitamin.

Fortified breakfast cereals, almonds, yeast extract and green leafy vegetables also contain some.

Too little:

The main problems of deficiency include poor growth, poor wound healing and skin, eye and mouth problems such as watery bloodshot eyes, flaky and dry skin, chapped lips and a sore tongue.

Almost one in ten men and women have vitamin B2 intakes below the LRNI, rising to 15% of 19-24 year old women.

Top tip:

Oral contraceptives can affect your needs for riboflavin so you may want to see your doctor for advice.

Meanwhile, alcohol reduces the absorption of riboflavin from the digestive tract – yet another good reason to limit the amount you drink!

How to get enough:

Food Vitamin B2 Content (mg)
300ml semi-skimmed milk 0.5
150g grilled lean rump steak 0.5
30g fruit ‘n’ fibre 0.4
50g almonds 0.4
150g pot low-fat fruit yoghurt 0.3
1 poached egg 0.2

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