By Jeremy Brown

| Naturopath | Counsellor |

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the uses of Vitamin B1, following on from this, we are looking at another water soluble B vitamin, vitamin B2, or riboflavin.  Riboflavin has a number of uses including preventing migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, and age related cataracts.

Preventing migraines

Chronic migraines can be a debilitating condition. It can affect social life, work and can leave sufferers with the constant threat of suffering yet an another migraine attack. Thankfully, there is long term relief for migraines sufferers, which may also reduce the overuse of painkillers. Studies of 200mgs twice per day of riboflavin showed a significant reduction in migraine frequency of about 50%, with painkiller use also halved. I have helped reduce over two decades of pain killer use in some cases. It is important to note that 3 months are required for an outcome.

Riboflavin is effective at reducing migraine frequency and painkiller use

Rheumatoid arthritis

One study has suggested that patients who have increased pain and active rheumatoid arthritis may benefit from Riboflavin. In one study, rheumatoid arthritic patients showed signs of Riboflavin deficiency. At this stage the association is unclear, and further studies are still needed.

Riboflavin may play a role in Rheumatoid arthritis, though further studies are needed

Age-related cataract prevention

Riboflavin has been associated with Riboflavin deficiency in animals dating back to the 1930s. Since then, this has been confirmed by human studies. Riboflavin indirectly influences key enzymes associated with lens health related to free radical damage. Large cross sectional studies of close to 3000 volunteers detected a clear link between Riboflavin and cataracts. Other vitamins involved in lens health and include Vitamin A, Niacin (B3) and Folate to name a few.

Riboflavin is involved in the prevention of age-related cataracts along with other nutrients

Increased need

Many drugs can increase the need for riboflavin and these include:


Oral contraceptive pill

Tricyclic anti-depressants


Sources of Riboflavin

There are two sources of Riboflavin; bacterial or dietary. Riboflavin can either be made by the bacteria in your stomach (assuming there are good levels of healthy bacteria) or can be taken in from dietary/supplementary measures.

Food sources

Organ meats

Yeast products


Wild rice


As with many natural medicines, the applications are broad and far reaching. Speaking to a Naturopathic practitioner will maximise your health outcomes to help you reach your health goals sooner.

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Yours in health,

Jeremy Brown

Naturopath | Counsellor

Supporting Evidence:

Braun, L., & Cohen, M. (2010). Herbs & natural supplements. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Hechtman, L. (2012). Clinical Naturopathic medicine. Sydney, Australia: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier Australia.