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Riboflavin (Vitamin B 2) (Systemic)


  • Nutritional supplement, vitamin


Vitamins (VYE-ta-mins) are compounds that you must have for growth and health. They are needed in small amounts only and are usually available in the foods that you eat. Riboflavin (RYE-boe-flay-vin) (vitamin B 2) is needed to help break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It also makes it possible for oxygen to be used by your body.

Lack of riboflavin may lead to itching and burning eyes, sensitivity of eyes to light, sore tongue, itching and peeling skin on the nose and scrotum, and sores in the mouth. Your doctor may treat this condition by prescribing riboflavin for you.

Some conditions may increase your need for riboflavin. These include:

  • Alcoholism
  • Burns
  • Cancer
  • Diarrhea (continuing)
  • Fever (continuing)
  • Illness (continuing)
  • Infection
  • Intestinal diseases
  • Liver disease
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Serious injury
  • Stress (continuing)
  • Surgical removal of stomach

In addition, riboflavin may be given to infants with high blood levels of bilirubin (hyperbilirubinemia).

Increased need for riboflavin should be determined by your health care professional.

Claims that riboflavin is effective for treatment of acne, some kinds of anemia (weak blood), migraine headaches, and muscle cramps have not been proven.

Oral forms of riboflavin are available without a prescription. If you take more than you need, it will simply be lost from your body.

Riboflavin is available in the following dosage form:

  • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)

Importance of Diet

For good health, it is important that you eat a balanced and varied diet. Follow carefully any diet program your health care professional may recommend. For your specific dietary vitamin and/or mineral needs, ask your health care professional for a list of appropriate foods. If you think that you are not getting enough vitamins and/or minerals in your diet, you may choose to take a dietary supplement.Riboflavin is found in various foods, including milk and dairy products, fish, meats, green leafy vegetables, and whole grain and enriched cereals and bread. It is best to eat fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible since they contain the most vitamins. Food processing may destroy some of the vitamins, although little riboflavin is lost from foods during ordinary cooking.

Vitamins alone will not take the place of a good diet and will not provide energy. Your body also needs other substances found in food such as protein, minerals, carbohydrates, and fat. Vitamins themselves often cannot work without the presence of other foods.

The daily amount of riboflavin needed is defined in several different ways.

    For U.S.-
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) are the amount of vitamins and minerals needed to provide for adequate nutrition in most healthy persons. RDAs for a given nutrient may vary depending on a person's age, sex, and physical condition (e.g., pregnancy).
  • Daily Values (DVs) are used on food and dietary supplement labels to indicate the percent of the recommended daily amount of each nutrient that a serving provides. DV replaces the previous designation of United States Recommended Daily Allowances (USRDAs).
    For Canada-
  • Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNIs) are used to determine the amounts of vitamins, minerals, and protein needed to provide adequate nutrition and lessen the risk of chronic disease.

Normal daily recommended intakes for riboflavin are generally defined as follows:

Persons U.S.
Infants and children
Birth to 3 years of age
0.4****�8 0.3****�7
4 to 6 years of age 1.1 0.9
7 to 10 years of age 1.2 1****�3
Adolescent and adult males 1.4****�8 1****�6
Adolescent and adult females 1.2****�3 1****�1
Pregnant females 1.6 1.1****�4
Breast-feeding females 1.7****�8 1.4****�5

Before Using This Medicine

If you are taking this dietary supplement without a prescription, carefully read and follow any precautions on the label. For riboflavin, the following should be considered:

Allergies- Tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy- It is especially important that you are receiving enough vitamins when you become pregnant and that you continue to receive the right amounts of vitamins throughout your pregnancy. The healthy growth and development of the fetus depend on a steady supply of nutrients from the mother. However, taking large amounts of a dietary supplement in pregnancy may be harmful to the mother and/or fetus and should be avoided.

Breast-feeding- It is especially important that you receive the right amounts of vitamins so that your baby will also get the vitamins needed to grow properly. However, taking large amounts of a dietary supplement while breast-feeding may be harmful to the mother and/or baby and should be avoided.

Children- Problems in children have not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended amounts.

Older adults- Problems in older adults have not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended amounts.

Other medicines- Other medicines or dietary supplements

Although certain medicines or dietary supplements should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines or dietary supplements may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your health care professional may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other dietary supplements or prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Proper Use of This Medicine


The amount of riboflavin needed to meet normal daily recommended intakes will be different for different patients. The following information includes only the average amounts of riboflavin.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • To prevent deficiency, the amount taken by mouth is based on normal daily recommended intakes:
        For the U.S.
      • Adults and teenage males-1.4 to 1.8 milligrams (mg) per day.
      • Adults and teenage females-1.2 to 1.3 mg per day.
      • Pregnant females-1.6 mg per day.
      • Breast-feeding females-1.7 to 1.8 mg per day.
      • Children 7 to 10 years of age-1.2 mg per day.
      • Children 4 to 6 years of age-1.1 mg per day.
      • Children birth to 3 years of age-0.4 to 0.8 mg per day.
        For Canada
      • Adults and teenage males-1 to 1.6 mg per day.
      • Adults and teenage females-1 to 1.1 mg per day.
      • Pregnant females-1.1 to 1.4 mg per day.
      • Breast-feeding females-1.4 to 1.5 mg per day.
      • Children 7 to 10 years of age-1 to 1.3 mg per day.
      • Children 4 to 6 years of age-0.9 mg per day.
      • Children birth to 3 years of age-0.3 to 0.7 mg per day.
    • To treat deficiency:
      • Adults and teenagers-Treatment dose is determined by prescriber for each individual based on the severity of deficiency.

Missed dose-

If you miss taking a vitamin for 1 or more days there is no cause for concern, since it takes some time for your body to become seriously low in vitamins. However, if your health care professional has recommended that you take this vitamin, try to remember to take it as directed every day.


To store this dietary supplement:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Do not store in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the dietary supplement to break down.
  • Do not keep outdated dietary supplements or those no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded dietary supplement is out of the reach of children.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Side Effects of This Dietary Supplement

Along with its needed effects, a dietary supplement may cause some unwanted effects. Riboflavin may cause urine to have a more yellow color than normal, especially if large doses are taken. This is to be expected and is no cause for alarm. Usually, however, riboflavin does not cause any side effects. Check with your health care professional if you notice any other unusual effects while you are using it.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT