If you suffer from migraines, you’ve probably tried a wide variety of treatments in the hopes of finding relief from these painful headaches. In fact, you may have heard of one potential alternative to medication; riboflavin. But does it really work?

Riboflavin and Migraines

Riboflavin is a B vitamin, specifically B2. Riboflavin serves a number of roles in the body, including the maintenance of mitochondrial function in the body’s cells. Because some types of migraines are thought to come about because the mitochondria aren’t working properly, it’s believed that riboflavin can be used as a corrective to that. People who suffer from metabolic-related migraines may also benefit from riboflavin, as the vitamin is necessary for proper metabolic function.

There are some scientific studies that have done the initial research into how riboflavin can help migraine sufferers. So far, there are indications that doses of riboflavin may lower the frequency of migraine-related headaches in adults, as well as the need for anti-migraine medications. Study results that focus on how riboflavin affects children with migraines aren’t as conclusive. In most studies, the riboflavin is administered in a capsule or tablet form, similar to migraine medication. Commonly, riboflavin doses for migraine sufferers are 400 mg daily over a period of about three months. There are few side effects that have been noted at that dosage level, except for very yellow urine and rare occurrences of diarrhea. Pregnant women should always discuss taking any kind of vitamin supplementation with their physicians.

How Do You Get Riboflavin?

Generally, it’s very easy to get enough riboflavin. In addition to riboflavin tablets such as those administered to migraine sufferers in the research studies, riboflavin is also commonly used in multivitamins.

Riboflavin is also readily available in many different types of foods. Foods that are high in riboflavin include:

  • Liver
  • Fortified grain cereals or oatmeal
  • Dairy products such as yogurt or milk
  • Beef
  • Almonds
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Seafood such as clams, cod and canned salmon
  • Steak
  • Green vegetables such as spinach
  • Kidney beans
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa

If you are on a riboflavin treatment program for migraines, you may want to talk to your health care professional about your dosage level and your diet to ensure you aren’t getting too much riboflavin. Possible side effects from too much riboflavin include skin issues such as itching, numbness or burning sensations.

If you are suffering from unbearable migraine attacks, it may be worth talking with a healthcare provider to see if riboflavin would be a good fit for you. If you have questions about riboflavin and migraines, or any other treatment options, contact The Migraine Institute today.

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