You’ve probably tried your share of pain relievers and preventative drugs to reduce the severity or frequency of your migraine attacks. However, if you’d rather take fewer drugs, you might have studied other alternatives — one of which is riboflavin, or vitamin B2.
This article will give insight into what the science says about riboflavin and its potential as a migraine prophylaxis to help you manage your condition.
Does Riboflavin Really Help With Migraine?
The short answer is yes! There is evidence that taking riboflavin for migraine could reduce the frequency of migraine-related headaches. Plus, it could lessen the need for pharmaceuticals.
In a study performed in a specialized outpatient clinic, patients were given a daily dose of 400 mg of riboflavin in capsule form. The frequency, duration, and intensity of their headaches and their use of abortive medications were recorded before riboflavin treatment began, and again at 3 months and then 6 months into the study.
Participants’ baseline headache frequency was 4 days per month. The daily dose of riboflavin was associated with a reduction to 2 days per month after both 3 and 6 months of treatment. The patients’ use of abortive migraine medications also decreased, from 7 units to 4.5 units per month during the same timeframe.
While no significant reduction in headache intensity was found, riboflavin was shown to have a clear potential for migraine prevention.
It should be noted that this study was focused on adults. Studies on riboflavin for migraine prophylaxis in kids have been less conclusive.
Could Riboflavin Help With Other Conditions?
Riboflavin or Vitamin B2 is necessary for cells to function and grow normally. While some people take it for migraine headaches, others take it for acne, muscle cramps, canker sores, carpal tunnel, and burning feet syndrome, as well as for eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, and eye fatigue. As a nutrient, riboflavin is purported by some to support healthy skin, hair, and nails, and even slow aging.
Further study is needed to prove its effectiveness for most of these conditions, but riboflavin is considered safe for most adults and children to take by mouth to supplement dietary intake.
Riboflavin for Migraine: Potential Side Effects
Supplementing with riboflavin is generally considered safe and serious side effects are unlikely. Possible effects from riboflavin supplements or taking too much of it include:
- Itching, numbness, or burning of the skin
- Yellow-orange urine
- Increased urination
If you are taking any of these medications or supplements, talk to your doctor before supplementing riboflavin as there could be interactions:
- Tetracycline antibiotics
- Anticholinergic drugs (atropine, antihistamines, scopolamine)
- Tricyclic antidepressants (in large amounts)
- Phenobarbital (Luminal)
- Probenecid (Benemid)
What Is Riboflavin?
Riboflavin is a B vitamin, like niacin and thiamine. Your body doesn’t produce it, so the only way to get it is to consume it. You can increase your riboflavin intake by eating foods that contain a lot dietary riboflavin, including:
- Fortified oatmeal or cereals
- Canned salmon
- Green vegetables (e.g. spinach)
- Brown rice
- Kidney beans
The Best Way to Get More Riboflavin
The riboflavin-rich foods listed above are all pretty readily available. However, it would be very difficult to get all 400 mg studied for migraine headaches without taking a riboflavin supplement (those participants took capsules).
Fortunately, it’s easy to find a riboflavin supplement. It’s also available combined with other minerals and substances research has shown may help with migraine, including magnesium, CoQ10, and even CBD.
For chronic migraine sufferers, it makes sense to take fewer pills and possibly save money by combining these ingredients into one high-quality supplement. Taking these key ingredients together could bring better results.
These types of supplements are available from Thuswell. Our formulas contain riboflavin, magnesium, and CoQ10, with or without CBD. If you want to focus on migraine prevention and reduce your reliance on pharmaceuticals, then science-backed natural supplements could be an important tool to help you manage your condition.