Vitamin and Calcium Supplements

  • Author:
    Betty Kovacs Harbolic, MS, RD

    Betty is a Registered Dietitian who earned her B.S. degree in Food and Nutrition from Marymount College of Fordham University and her M.S. degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She is the Co-Director and Director of nutrition for the New York Obesity Research Center Weight Loss Program.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.


What is riboflavin, and what does it do?

Riboflavin is one of the water-soluble B vitamins and is also known as vitamin B2. It is needed for converting food to energy, works as an antioxidant by scavenging damaging free radicals, and is needed to convert vitamin B6 and folate into active forms.

How much riboflavin do I need to consume?

There is insufficient information to establish an RDA for vitamin riboflavin for infants. In this case, an Adequate Intake (AI) has been established:

Age Males and Females
0 to 6 months 0.3 mg
7 to 12 months 0.4 mg

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for riboflavin is:

1 to 3 years 0.5 mg 0.5 mg N/A N/A
4 to 8 years 0.6 mg 0.6 mg N/A N/A
9 to 13 years 0.9 mg 0.9 mg N/A N/A
14 to 18 years 1.3 mg 1.0 mg 1.4 mg 1.6 mg
19 + years 1.3 mg 1.1 mg 1.4 mg 1.6 mg

What are sources of riboflavin?

Though riboflavin can be found in most animal and plant foods, it is destroyed by light, so these foods need to be stored away from light to protect it. It can be lost in the water if foods are boiled or soaked, so avoid doing this or consume the water along with the food (for example, soup).

Food Amount Riboflavin Content
Asparagus, cooked 4 spears 0.08 mg
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 0.15 mg
Cereal, fortified 1 cup 0.42 mg
Egg, cooked 1 large 0.24 mg
Milk, nonfat 1 cup 0.45 mg
Nuts, cashews, dry roasted 1 oz 0.06 mg
Peaches, raw 1 cup 0.05 mg
Peas, frozen, cooked 1 cup 0.16 mg
Raisins seedless 1 cup 0.18 mg
Spaghetti, cooked, enriched 1 cup 0.19 mg
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 0.43 mg

Do I need to take a riboflavin supplement?

A well-balanced diet can provide enough riboflavin to reach your RDA. When your diet is limited in variety or you have a medical condition that interferes with the absorption of riboflavin, you may need a supplement. The most common forms of riboflavin found in supplements are riboflavin 5-monophosphate and riboflavin. These can be purchased alone, in a multivitamin, or in a B complex supplement.

What happens if I don't have enough riboflavin?

Riboflavin deficiency can occur from not consuming enough in your diet and from conditions that decrease the amount absorbed, including malabsorption syndromes, chronic diarrhea, long-term use of barbiturates, peritoneal dialysis, and alcoholism. Ariboflavinosis is caused by riboflavin deficiency. The symptoms include fatigue, cracks and sores around the corners of the mouth (angular stomatitis/cheilosis), eye fatigue, swollen magenta tongue (glossitis), skin irritation (dermatitis), soreness and swelling of the throat, sensitivity to light, and eye fatigue.

Is there such a thing as too much riboflavin?

No Tolerable Upper Limit (UL) has been set for riboflavin. Possible reactions to very high doses include burning/prickling sensations, itching, numbness, and yellow discoloration of the urine. There is also a possibility that riboflavin's photosensitizing (sensitivity to light) properties can pose health risks.

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