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Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is important for growth, development and function of cells in the body. It also helps to turn food into energy.

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›  Health benefits

Scientists are studying riboflavin and its effect on health.
Migraine headaches
Some studies have shown that riboflavin supplements may help prevent migraine headaches, but other studies have shown that they do not. Supplements of riboflavin usually have very few side effects, so some medical experts recommend trying riboflavin for migraines under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

›  How much do I need?

The amount of riboflavin you need depends on gender. Men need 1.3 milligrams daily; women need 1.1 milligrams daily. Pregnant teens and women need 1.4 milligrams daily; breastfeeding teens and women need 1.6 milligrams.

A deficiency is very rare but can occur. Certain groups of people are more prone to having a riboflavin deficiency: athletes who are vegetarians, pregnant and breastfeeding women along with their babies, vegans, people who do not eat dairy, and people with a genetic disorder that causes a deficiency (such as Brown-Vialetto-Van Laere syndrome).

A riboflavin deficiency can cause skin disorders, sores at the corner of the mouth, swollen and cracked lips, hair loss, sore throat, liver disorders, and problems with the nervous and reproductive systems. A severe deficiency causes a shortage of red blood cells (anemia), which makes you feel weak and tired. It also causes clouding of the lens of the eyes (cataracts).

›  In food

Riboflavin is naturally found in many foods and is added to fortified foods. It can be found in eggs; organ meats; lean meats; low-fat milk; green vegetables; and fortified cereals, breads and grain products.

›  Dietary supplements

Riboflavin is found in multivitamin/multimineral supplements, in B-complex dietary supplements and in supplements by itself.

Source: National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements

Please consult your health care provider before making changes to your vitamin/supplement regimen.

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