Why Your Blood Needs Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Why Your Blood Needs Vitamin B2

We are surrounded by an abundance of food with different nutrients. But did you know that vitamin B2 is one of the most important vitamins in your blood?.

Vitamin B2 also known as riboflavin, is an essential nutrient that your body needs to maintain a healthy metabolism and breakdown food.

Vitamin B2 is necessary for producing energy and to help keep the hair and eyes healthy.

In this article, you will know the importance of vitamin B2, it’s benefits and functions, why you need it, and what foods contain this nutrient.

What is vitamin B2 and what does it do in the blood?

Vitamin B2 is one of the most widely distributed water-soluble vitamins in your blood. A sufficient intake of riboflavin is important, as it helps the body to convert food into energy, and neutralize free radicals that can damage cells and DNA.

Vitamin B2 stimulates growth and reproduction, plays a role in vision, and in the conversion of vitamins B6, folic acid, and niacin into their active coenzyme forms.

Benefits and functions of vitamin B2 

  • Reduction-oxidation reactions
  • Energy production
  • Antioxidant functions
  • Conversion of vitamin B6 and folic acid into their active coenzyme forms
  • Growth and reproduction

Vitamin B2 also functions as coenzyme FAD and is involved in several metabolic pathways.

Why vitamin B2 is good for your blood

Vitamin B2 has beneficial effects in your blood. You need vitamin B2 for a couple of reasons.

Malaria infection

Infections with malaria parasites may stimulate the immune system leading to reactive oxygen species formation which can attack the plasma membrane of erythrocytes in the blood.

Vitamin B2 reduces the level of methemoglobin content, decreases food vacuole size and inhibits asexual parasite growth in the erythrocytes infested with Plasmodium falciparum.

High blood pressure

In a placebo randomized controlled trial, cardiovascular disease patients were given riboflavin at the dietary level of 1.6 mg/d, this resulted in a reduction of systolic blood pressure by 13 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by almost 8 mmHg.


People suffering from migraine have a modified mitochondrial oxygen metabolism.

Because riboflavin plays a vital role in energy production, supplemental riboflavin has been investigated to alleviate migraines.

When migraine sufferers took 400 mg per day of riboflavin for 3 months, they reported significant reductions in both migraine severity and frequency.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual syndrome is a condition that refers to a complex of physical and psychological
symptoms which occur during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and disappear when menstruation starts.

In a study, an increased intake of riboflavin from food sources decreased the risk of PMS. The intake of 2.52 mg riboflavin per day was observed to lead to a 35% lower risk of developing PMS compared to the intake of 1.38 mg per day.


Riboflavin contributes to forming blood cells by a process called erythropoiesis. Vitamin B2 improves iron absorption and helps in the mobilization of ferritin from tissues. Hemoglobin concentration also increases by supplementing with riboflavin.

What foods provides vitamin B2?

Most plant and animal-derived foods contain at least small quantities of riboflavin. However, there are very few natural sources rich in this vitamin. The most important and common dietary sources are:

  • Cereals
  • Milk
  • Milk products
  • Lean meat
  • Eggs
  • Green leafy vegetables

Cereal grains, although poor sources of riboflavin are important for those who rely on cereals as their main dietary component.

Fortified cereals and bakery products supply large amounts.
Animal sources of riboflavin are more readily absorbed than
vegetable sources.

In milk from cows, sheep and goats, at least 90% of the riboflavin is in the free form; in most other sources, it occurs bound to proteins.

Are you getting enough riboflavin in your blood?

Most people don’t get enough riboflavin from foods they consume. However, certain groups of people have trouble getting enough riboflavin, including:

  • Athletes who are vegetarians
  • Pregnant women
  • People who are vegan
  • People who do not eat dairy foods
  • People with riboflavin transporter deficiency

What happens if you don’t get enough vitamin B2 in your blood?

You can develop vitamin B2 deficiency if you don’t get sufficient amounts of riboflavin from the foods you eat.

Riboflavin deficiency can cause:

  • Skin disorders
  • Sores at the corners of your mouth
  • Swollen and cracked lips
  • Hair loss
  • Growth suppression
  • Sore throat
  • Liver disorders
  • Tongue inflammation

Severe, long-term riboflavin deficiency causes a shortage of red blood cells, known as anemia, which makes you feel weak and tired.

How much vitamin B2 do you need?

The amount of riboflavin you need in your blood depends on the age, gender and other factors. Below are the average daily recommended amounts for different life stages.

  • Birth to 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
  • Teens 14–18 years: 1.0 mg
  • Men: 1.3 mg
  • Women: 1.1 mg
  • Pregnant women: 1.4 mg
  • Breastfeeding women: 1.6 mg

What about vitamin B2 dietary supplements?

Riboflavin is found in B-complex dietary supplements and in supplements containing only riboflavin.

Some supplements have much more than the recommended amounts of riboflavin, but your body can’t absorb more than 27 mg at a time. Here are some examples of vitamin B2 dietary supplements from our best picks:

  • Garden of life raw B complex
  • Nutricost vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B2 riboflavin
  • Amazing formulas riboflavin
  • Solgar vitamin B2
  • NOW supplements vitamin B2

Does vitamin B2 interact with other medications?

Riboflavin is not known to interact with any medications. But it is important to tell your doctor about any dietary supplements and medicines you take.

Is vitamin B2 harmful to the blood?

Vitamin B2 is non-toxic. No cases of toxicity from ingestion of riboflavin have been reported. A harmless yellow coloration of urine occurs at high doses.

The limited capacity of the gastrointestinal tract to absorb this vitamin makes any significant risk unlikely, and because riboflavin is water-soluble, excess amounts are simply excreted.


Vitamin B2 is a water-soluble vitamin that is easily absorbed by the blood. It plays a positive role in several biochemical reactions and metabolic pathways.

Lack of vitamin B2 in your blood can lead to anemia, skin irritations, hair loss, poor growth and other health complications.

You should eat foods containing vitamin B2 to make sure your body gets the right amounts. Consider taking vitamin B2 supplements if you’re not getting enough from the diet.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any issues with your health before taking vitamin B2 dietary supplements.

Related Post: Why Your Blood Needs Vitamin B1

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