Nutrient to Know: Riboflavin

It’s found in everything from dairy products to vegetables, but are you making smart choices to get enough of this energy-boosting B-vitamin? Find out why it's important and the best ways to get your daily dose.

What Is It?

Sometimes referred to as vitamin B-2, riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin that’s typically part of a B-complex supplement. High doses of the vitamins have been studied to help treat migraine headaches. More research is needed to determine both safety and effectiveness, though, so hold off on taking large doses.

Why Is It Good for You?

Riboflavin helps facilitate a variety of chemical reactions in the body. It helps turn both carbs and fat into energy and plays a role in protein metabolism. You also need riboflavin to help keep your skin healthy.

Most folks do a good job at getting enough of this vitamin. Those that don’t may suffer from inflamed and irritated skin, especially around the mouth and tongue; open mouth sores are also an unpleasant possibility.

While side effects from eating foods with high amounts of riboflavin do not seem to happen, high doses of supplements (400 milligrams or more per day) may cause stomach upset and frequent urination.

Where Can I Find It?

The daily recommendation for this vitamin is 1.7 milligrams per day. In addition to being found naturally in milk, eggs, shellfish, beans, nuts, meat, wheat germ and green leafy veggies like spinach, breads are cereals are often fortified with this nutrient.

1 cup skim milk =  0.5 milligrams (29% of daily recommended amount)

1 cup low fat yogurt = 0.4 milligrams (24% of daily recommended amount)

1 cup steamed spinach = 0.4 milligrams (24% of daily recommended amount)

1 ounce  almonds = 0.2 milligrams (12% of daily recommended amount)
1 large egg = 0.2 milligrams (12% of daily recommended amount)
3 ounces cooked beef tenderloin = (6% of daily recommended amount)

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

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