You are here

Healthy Foods that Contain Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Riboflavin is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin that is a key component of two enzymes in your body called flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and flavin mononucleotide (FMN). FAD and FMN are used by every cell in your body to produce energy. FAD is used by other enzymes to protect your body against damage by free radicals.

What Does Riboflavin Do in Your Body?

  • Helps to repair and maintain the health of your skin, hair, and eyes.
  • Reduces homocysteine levels, which lowers your risk of stroke, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and many other degenerative diseases.
  • Helps to convert carbohydrates, protein, and fat into energy.

Here are some healthy, whole food sources of riboflavin:

Whole Food Sources Serving Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) (mg)
Beef liver, cooked 3 ounces 1.71
Mushrooms, cooked 1 cup 0.47
Raw, unpasteurized milk 1 cup 0.34
Mushrooms, raw 1 cup 0.29
Organic egg, cooked 1 large 0.27
Almonds, raw 1 ounce 0.24
Organic Beef, cooked 3 ounces 0.19
Broccoli, boiled or steamed 1 cup 0.18
Spinach, boiled or steamed 1 cup 0.18
Organic chicken, dark meat, roasted 3 ounces 0.18
Asparagus, boiled or steamed 6 spears 0.13
Salmon, broiled 3 ounces 0.13

An excellent whole food supplement source of riboflavin is our organic green food formula.

Signs of Deficiency

  • Cracks around lips (cheliosis) or at mouth corners (angular stomatitis)
  • Sore tongue and/or sore throat
  • Appearance of blood vessels in white part of eyes (vascularization of the cornea)
  • Burning and itching of your eyes
  • Hypersensitivity to bright lights
  • Moist, scaly skin rashes (can include scalp)

Riboflavin found in whole foods is absorbed exceptionally well into your blood, while synthetic riboflavin is only absorbed at an approximate rate of 15 percent when taken on an empty stomach. Synthetic riboflavin - often listed on vitamin supplements as vitamin B2 - is readily eliminated by your body, as evidenced by a bright, yellow fluorescent colour to your urine.

Recommended Dietary Allowance for Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) - 1998
Life Stage Age Males (mg/day)  Females (mg/day) 
Infants 0-6 months 0.3 0.3
Infants 7-12 months 0.4 0.4
Children 1-3 years 0.5 0.5
Children 4-8 years 0.6 0.6
Children 9-13 years 0.9 0.9
Adolescents 14-18 years 1.3 1.0
Adults 19-years and older 1.3 1.1
Pregnancy all ages - 1.4
Breastfeeding all ages - 1.6


If healthy, your body will effciently eliminate excess riboflavin through your urine. This doesn't mean that it is harmless to take large doses of synthetic riboflavin, as your kidneys need to expend extra energy to filter out all unnecessary waste products, including synthetic vitamins.

If you consume regular doses of synthetic riboflavin, riboflavin metabolites can become oxidized in your eyes, leading to the formation of fatty deposits called lipofuscin, paving the way to age-related macular degeneration.

As with all other nutrients, I highly recommend that you completely avoid synthetic riboflavin and obtain your riboflavin from whole foods only.

Diagnostic Test for Riboflavin

RBC glutathione reductase activation

Go To Nutrient Index


Join more than 80,000 readers worldwide who receive Dr. Ben Kim's free newsletter

Receive simple suggestions to measurably improve your health and mobility, plus alerts on specials and giveaways at our catalogue

Please Rate This

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (41 votes)
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.