March 5, 2018
Riboflavin: also known as vitamin B2, is an essential nutrient for energy and methylation pathways in our system.
It is a water soluble vitamin that we use in the production of FAD, flavin adenine dinucleotide, and FMN, flavin mono nucleotide. These two chemicals are critical in the pathways of inner cell mitochondrial energy production.
Methylation of your DNA via an enzyme known as MTHFR, methyl tetrahydrofolate reducatase, occurs with the help of riboflavin. Think of this as putting sticky notes on your genes that tell your cells to read or not read critical segments of DNA. This process helps us regulate what genes get read and turned on or more importantly silenced. Among other things, dysfunctional MTHFR enzyme activity because of low B2 is associated with preeclampsia in pregnant women leading to prematurity or more problematic condition called eclampsia. This is one of the critical reasons behind the recommendations for prenatal vitamins.
Riboflavin helps prevent migraine headaches in patients that suffer from them. Supplements like Migrelief combine B2 and other herbs to control migraine symptoms. I find that the most powerful tool for migraine prevention is an elimination diet based on IgG4 food sensitivity testing.
Glutathione is the most powerful chemical clearing substance in our body. Riboflavin is necessary to recycle it for reuse. A problem called oxidative stress where toxic oxygen molecules damage our cells is related to low riboflavin levels and poor recycling of glutathione.
We need B2 to metabolize three other critical B vitamins, B3/B6/B9. The whole system is linked and functions ideally with good volumes of all water soluble B vitamins.
Low B2 alters iron absorption which can lead to mild anemia.
Riboflavin deficiency presents with cracked lips, red irritated corners of the mouth, red tongue and scaly skin.
There are no known side effects of excessive riboflavin intake.
Food sources of riboflavin green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, eggs, almonds, liver, dairy, legumes, fish, meat and mushrooms. The US government has been fortifying breads and cereals for years.
Most adults need 1.1 to 1.3 mg/day. Incrementally less for kids. This nutrient is easily obtained from a anti inflammatory diet.
People at risk for insufficiency or deficiency have: alcoholism, inflammatory bowel disease, HIV, eating disorders, celiac disease, heart disease and certain drugs including oral contraceptives, phenobarbitol, cancer and anti psychotic drugs.
(The yellow color of the IV bags hanging over gurneys of alcoholics in the emergency department referenced last week comes from vitamin B2. It is poorly soluble in water and is yellow.)