encyclopedia

Vitamin B2

Natural Sources:
Brewer’s yeast; dark green vegetables; Spirulina; mushrooms; whole grain and enriched cereals, pasta, bread.

Forms:
Standardized Vitamin B2 supplements including liquid multi-vitamin and mineral products, capsules and tablets; Brewer’s yeast; ‘greens’ supplements; and fortified foods.

Therapeutic Uses:
– Aging Disorders

– Cataracts

– Cellular Regeneration

– Cleansing/Detoxifying

– Digestive Disorders

– Eyesight Disorders

– General Debility

– Heart Health Maintenance

– High Homocysteine

– Leg Cramps

– Low Energy

– Melancholy

– Migraine

– Nervous Disorders

– Skin Disorders

– Vascular Disorders

– Vitamin B2 Deficiency (RDA = 1.6-2.6 mg/day)

– Weight Control

Overview:

Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, like thiamin or vitamin B1, is considered to be a fragile, water-soluble compound, particularly important as a catalyst or coenzyme in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and, especially, respiratory proteins. Riboflavin is needed in every cell of your body every day. It promotes repair and proper growth of tissue, and is essential for good digestion and steady nerves. It is also vital to correct thyroid function and cellular metabolism. Also known as vitamin G, riboflavin is overall essential for growth and general health as well as for healthy eyes, skin, nails and hair. Riboflavin also serves in the maintenance of mucous membranes. Riboflavin deficiency is among the most common deficiency disorders in the United States and usually appears along with deficiencies of other vitamins. The body has low stores of B2, so it is required in the diet on a daily basis. Riboflavin deficiency symptoms, which are not as definite as those of a lack of thiamine, are skin lesions, especially around the nose and lips, and sensitivity to light. Supplementation with riboflavin particularly helps eliminate sore mouth, lips and tongue. A deficiency of riboflavin can also cause a burning sensation in the legs, lips and tongue, oily skin, eczema, anemia, eye problems and premature wrinkles on the face and arms. The richest food sources of riboflavin are beef liver, milk, yogurt, Brewer’s yeast, eggs, bagels, dark green leafy vegetables, mushrooms and whole grain and enriched cereals, pasta, bread. The recommended daily allowance for vitamin B2 is 1.6 to 2.6 mg. for adults and 0.6 to one mg for children. Its use in larger quantities, say from 25 to 50 mg, is beneficial in the treatment of nutritional cataracts and other eye ailments, digestive disturbances, nervous depression, general debility, and certain types of high blood pressure.

Chemistry:
Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin or lactoflavin, is a flavoprotein that was first isolated about 110 years ago by an English chemist by the name of A. Wynter Blyth and reported in the Transactions of the Chemical Society on his work on the chemical composition of cow’s milk (he called the yellow compound, lactochrome). It was later characterized by several different researchers including Robert Kuhn, together with Albert von Szent-Gyφrgyi and Wagner-Jauregg, for which a Nobel Prize was awarded in 1938. Kuhn and his collaborators succeeded in isolating about 1g of a pure yellow substance, that they called Lactoflavin at the time (having isolated it from 5,300 liters of skim milk), whose composition was found to be C17H20O6N4.

Suggested Amount:
The U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin B2 is 1.6-2.6 mg/day for an adult and 0.6-1.0mg/day for a child. Clinical trials involving positive results for treating leg cramps used B vitamin complex including 5mgs of riboflavin daily. High-dose riboflavin was found to be effective in migraine prevention and treatment in two different trials using 400 mg as a single oral dose daily for 3 months duration. Foods High in Vitamin B2: Liver, beef, 3 oz. 3.52 mg; Milk, 2%, 1 cup 0.40 mg; Yogurt, fruit flavored, low fat, 1 cup 0.40 mg; Brewer’s yeast, 1 Tbsp. 0.34 mg; Egg, 1 0.26 mg; Cheese, feta, 1 oz. 0.23 mg; Hamburger, lean, 3 oz. 0.22 mg; Spinach, fresh, 1/2 cup 0.21 mg; Cheese, cottage, 2% fat, 1/2 cup 0.21 mg; Bagel, plain, 1 0.20 mg; Chicken, dark meat, 3 oz. 0.19 mg; Milk, mother’s, 1 cup 0.09 mg; Rice, brown, cooked, 1 cup 0.05 mg (Adapted from: Walton Feed Inc. 1999.).

Drug Interactions:
None known.

Contraindications:
None known.

Side Effects:
None known.

References:

Chan P, Huang TY, Chen YJ, Huang WP, Liu YC. 1998. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the safety and efficacy of vitamin B complex in the treatment of nocturnal leg cramps in elderly patients with hypertension. J Clin Pharmacol. 1998 Dec; 38(12): 1151-4.

Duke JA. 1992. Handbook of Biologically Active Phytochemicals and their Activities. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, p. 144.

Hustad S, Ueland PM, Vollset SE, Zhang Y, Bjorke-Monsen AL, Schneede J. 2000. Riboflavin as a determinant of plasma total homocysteine: effect modification by the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase C677T polymorphism. Clin Chem. 2000 Aug; 46(8 Pt 1): 1065-71.

Massey, V. 2000. The Chemical and Biological Versatility of Riboflavin. Biochemical Society Transactions (2000) Volume 28, part 4, pp. 283-296.

Schoenen, J., Jacquy, J. and M Lenaerts 1999. Effectiveness of high-dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis. A randomized controlled trial. Neurology 1998 50: 466-470.

Additional Information:

Important Functions of Riboflavin for Expectant Mothers:

Riboflavin is also important in DNA and RNA metabolism. Animals fed no B2 had babies with extreme malformations in the skeletal system, because of mutations in the DNA. Low riboflavin can also cause degeneration of your nerves. Riboflavin stimulates a hormone that stimulates the adrenals to release their hormones. Hormones from the adrenal glands help to alleviate stress so are important to support nutritionally. Because riboflavin plays an important role in thyroid function and the control of hormones from the adrenal glands, it also controls weight gain and where and how fat is deposited.

Positive Clinical Trial Results On Treating Nocturnal Leg Cramps:

Nocturnal leg cramps are a common and troublesome problem in elderly individuals, and their etiology is unknown. Treatment with quinine is a common practice, but the effectiveness of the drug is doubtful and adverse drug effects are common. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of vitamin B complex capsules (fursulthiamine 50 mg, hydroxocobalamin 250 micrograms, pyridoxal phosphate 30 mg, and riboflavin 5 mg) in 28 elderly patients with hypertension who had severe nocturnal leg cramps that disturbed their sleep. Self-reported ratings of leg cramp frequency, duration, and intensity were used to evaluate severity of nocturnal leg cramps. Both the patients taking vitamin B capsules (n = 14) and those taking placebo (n = 14) received medications three times daily, and were examined regularly at 2-week intervals for 3 months. After 3 months, 86% of the patients taking vitamin B had prominent remission of leg cramps, whereas those taking placebo had no significant difference from baseline. Treatment with vitamin B complex significantly reduced the frequency, intensity, and duration of nocturnal leg cramps. Because quinine is not without potential for side effects, and vitamin B complex is a relatively safe and effective alternative, clinicians should reconsider the treatment of choice for nocturnal leg cramps.

Positive Clinical Trial Results on Preventing Migraines:

A deficit of mitochondrial energy metabolism may play a role in migraine pathogenesis. We found in a previous open study that high-dose riboflavin was effective in migraine prophylaxis. We now compared riboflavin (400 mg) and placebo in 55 patients with migraine in a randomized trial of 3 months duration. Using an intention-to-treat analysis, riboflavin was superior to placebo in reducing attack frequency (p = 0.005) and headache days (p = 0.012). Regarding the latter, the proportion of patients who improved by at least 50%, i.e. “responders,” was 15% for placebo and 59% for riboflavin (p = 0.002) and the number-needed-to-treat for effectiveness was 2.3. Three minor adverse events occurred, two in the riboflavin group (diarrhea and polyuria) and one in the placebo group (abdominal cramps). None was serious. Because of its high efficacy, excellent tolerability, and low cost, riboflavin is an interesting option for migraine prophylaxis and a candidate for a comparative trial with an established prophylactic drug.

In the preliminary open pilot study, 49 patients suffering from migraine (45 without aura, 4 with aura) were treated with 400 mg of riboflavin as a single oral dose for at least 3 months. Twenty-three patients received in addition 75 mg of aspirin. Mean global improvement after therapy was 68.2% and there was no difference between the two groups of patients. With the exception of one patient in the riboflavin plus aspirin group who withdrew because of gastric intolerance, no drug-related side effects were reported. High-dose riboflavin could thus be an effective, low-cost prophylactic treatment of migraine devoid of short-term side effects.