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The Many Jobs of Riboflavin

Friday, March 28, 2014

Vitamin B2 is water soluble and required for a large number of cellular processes, including oxidation-reduction reactions (redox) responsible for energy production, metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and ketone bodies. It’s also solely responsible for the fluorescent-yellow color in urine of people who supplement with high dose B-complex vitamins.

Vitamin B2 is an integral component of the coenzymes, flavin, adenine, and dinucleotide (FAD) and the flavin mononucleotide (FMN). Enzymes that are vitamin B2 dependent are called flavoproteins.
FAD-dependent enzymes participate in the redox cycle of glutathione (the master antioxidant) and play a major role in protecting organisms from highly reactive oxygen-containing chemicals that react easily with other molecules, resulting in cellular damage, particularly in the eye. These destructive molecules are called reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Riboflavin (B2) Deficiency

Because the vitamin B2-dependent enzymes, flavoproteins, are involved in the metabolism of other B vitamins, including vitamin B6, niacin, and folic acid, B2 deficiency can affect many enzyme systems.
Ariboflavinosis is the clinical name for vitamin B2 deficiency.  

It’s rarely found in isolation and occurs frequently in combination with deficiencies of other water-soluble vitamins.

Symptoms can include sore throat, redness and swelling of the lining of the mouth and throat, cracks or sores on the outside of the lips and corners of the mouth, inflammation and redness of the tongue, and moist scaly skin particularly affecting the scrotum or labia majora and the nasolabial folds.
Riboflavin (B2) and Eye Health

B2 deficiency is linked to formation of blood vessels in the clear covering of the eye (vascularization of the cornea).

Age-related cataract has also proven to increase in those who are vitamin B2 deficient. One Australian study of both men and women suggested that there is a 50 percent reduction in the incidence of of age-related cataracts in those with the highest riboflavin intake.
Concentrated riboflavin (vitamin B2) topical eye drops and ultraviolet light exposure are now being used by skilled doctors to enhance crosslinking and treat patients with progressive keratoconus.  

Don't miss reading a new Spencer Thornton, MD, article on riboflavin and cornea collagen crosslinking in the latest edition of US Ophthalmic Review,* the beautiful peer-reviewed London-based journal published by Touch Ophthalmology.  

For those of you who might be concerned about a possible connection between riboflavin, sun, and skin health as I was, supplemental B2 does not increase wrinkle-producing epidermal crosslinking due to natural thermodynamics of dissolution associated with water-soluble vitamin B2 in the body. 

Riboflavin has also been used in a number of studies to address the impaired mitochondrial oxygen metabolism in the brain linked to chronic migraine headaches. Although the findings are preliminary, data suggest that riboflavin supplementation might be a useful therapy in migraine prevention. 

Riboflavin (B2) Food Sources

Fortified cereals, milk, cheese, eggs, almonds, salmon, chicken, beef, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, and fortified breads. 

Given that fewer than 10 percent of the U.S. public consume five total servings of fruits and vegetables per day (the most recent recommendation is nine to 13 servings per day to meet RDA of most vitamins and minerals), riboflavin (B2) supplementation as part of a B-vitamin complex, or in a full-spectrum multiple is always recommended.  

Riboflavin (B2) Safety
According to the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine, no toxic or adverse effects of high supplemental riboflavin intake in humans are known. 

Ellen Troyer, with Spencer Thornton, MD, and the Biosyntrx staff


Riboflavin, like the other B-vitamins, plays an important role in overall body health.  This is a classic example of why we at Biosyntrx prefer to recommend supplementation with a full-spectrum multiple designed to address the symphonic relationship between vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Nutritional supplementation metabolic performance is brilliant and more productive when all the players show up. 

The Biosyntrx full-spectrum multiples, Macula Complete and Oculair, include 10 mg of vitamin B2 in each recommended daily dose.

Crestpoint Management, LTD instrument announcement:
6.0mm and 6.5mm Double Ended Ring Marker with Cross Hairs 9-715


Brody T. Nutritional Biochemistry. 2nd ed. San Diego: Academic Press; 1999. 

Powers HJ. Current knowledge concerning optimum nutritional status of riboflavin, niacin and pyridoxine. Proc Nutr Soc. 1999;58(2):435-440.(PubMed)

Mares-Perlman JA, Brady WE, Klein BE, et al. Diet and nuclear lens opacities. Am J Epidemiol. 1995;141(4):322-334.  (PubMed)

Cumming RG, Mitchell P, Smith W. Diet and cataract: the Blue Mountains Eye Study. Ophthalmology. 2000;107(3):450-456.  (PubMed)

Jacques PF, Taylor A, Moeller S, et al. Long-term nutrient intake and 5-year change in nuclear lens opacities. Arch Ophthalmol. 2005;123(4):517-526.  (PubMed) 

Derakhshan A, Shandiz JH, Short-term outcomes of collagen crosslinking for early keratoconus. J Ophthalmic Vis Res. 2011, Jul,6(3): 156-0 [PubMed]

Kilic A, Kamburoglu G, et al. Riboflavin injection into the corneal channel for combined collagen crosslinking and intrastromal corneal ring segment implantation. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2012 March 12, 2012. [PubMed]

Riboflavin (B2) and Migraine

Schoenen J, Jacquy J, Lenaerts M. Effectiveness of high-dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis. A randomized controlled trial. Neurology. 1998;50(2):466-470.  (PubMed)

Sandor PS, Afra J, Ambrosini A, Schoenen J. Prophylactic treatment of migraine with beta-blockers and riboflavin: differential effects on the intensity dependence of auditory evoked cortical potentials. Headache. 2000;40(1):30-35.  (PubMed) 

Boehnke C, Reuter U, Flach U, Schuh-Hofer S, Einhaupl KM, Arnold G. High-dose riboflavin treatment is efficacious in migraine prophylaxis: an open study in a tertiary care centre. Eur J Neurol. 2004;11(7):475-477.  (PubMed)