This Vitamin Helps Your Body Absorb Iron

Author photo

The Pure TheraPro Team

The Pure TheraPro Education Team is comprised of researchers from diverse backgrounds including nutrition, functional medicine, fitness, supplement formulation & food science. All articles have been reviewed for content, accuracy, and compliance by a holistic integrative nutritionist certified by an accredited institution.
Last updated for accuracy

Our bodies need riboflavin. It’s a B vitamin necessary for cellular respiration and proper cell growth and function. Riboflavin is required for the proper development of many things in the body including the skin, lining of the digestive tract, blood cells, and brain function.

Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B₂, is a vitamin found in food and used as a dietary supplement. It is required by the body for cellular respiration. Riboflavin protects the body from free radicals, can help guard against various cancers, assists with migraines and muscle aches and helps protect the body from neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. 

Riboflavin is abundant in many animal based products such as meats, eggs and dairy but is also found in grains and leafy vegetables. 


Do you have frequent migraine headaches? Cracked skin, particularly cracked/bleeding skin around the mouth? Is your neck swollen? Is your hair breaking and lacking luster? Are you experiencing fatigue, anemia, exercise intolerance? These are all symptoms of a riboflavin deficiency.

Although riboflavin deficiency is considered rare in the United States, it may occur, particularly if you are vegetarian or vegan or have malabsorption issues. Those with MTHFR may also be at risk of a riboflavin deficiency. In developing countries, a deficiency in riboflavin can impact up to 50% of the population.

Endocrine issues may also affect riboflavin absorption. Frequently, a balance between other B vitamins must be in place for adequate riboflavin levels. For example, supplementing with mega-doses of B12 may affect riboflavin levels--these must be balanced, so supplementing with riboflavin in addition to B12 is recommended. 

External factors that can potentially lower natural levels of riboflavin include alcohol abuse, aging and the use of birth control pills, which hinder riboflavin’s absorption by the body. 



Anemia is a  main risk of riboflavin deficiency. Since riboflavin carries the responsibility of transporting oxygen via the production of red blood cells, it is also a close friend of iron. Increased riboflavin increases red blood cell production and oxygen on the cellular level. 

Riboflavin is essential for optimal metabolism of iron. Animal studies have demonstrated that a riboflavin deficiency may impact the absorption of iron and increase the loss of iron via the intestines--in other words-- result in malabsorption. It has also been linked with reduced iron utilization when it comes to creating hemoglobin. 

This translates to humans, as well, as there is a correlation between riboflavin levels and iron deficiency anemia, with research to prove it. Increasing riboflavin levels improves iron deficiency anemia, which might be a missing link for those with chronic anemia, particularly those linked with malabsorption and gut issues. 

In a randomized UK study of 123 women aged 19-25, participants were either given 2-4 mg riboflavin daily or a placebo for 8 weeks. The study included testing iron levels and absorption. The results of the study indicated that those provided with riboflavin had increased iron levels while those not receiving riboflavin did not. The lower the riboflavin whether from supplementation or through diet, the lower the hemoglobin status. 

Our Iron Complete is now available! It is an activated iron complex formulated for maximum bioavailability. The patented iron utilized, Ferrochel, provides increased stomach tolerability and optimal absorption. Studies indicate that combining iron with other essential nutrients such as riboflavin, other B vitamins and vitamin C provide greater hemoglobin status. 

Iron Complete