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August 2021

Riboflavin Might Offer Low-Risk Migraine Relief

Migraines affect about 12% of the global population, including 39 million adults and children in the US. Promising research shows that riboflavin might offer some benefits for people battling debilitating attacks. 

While the exact cause of migraines isn’t clear, there are many known triggers. These include hormonal changes, medications, diet, and alcohol use. Reduced nutrient levels, including riboflavin, might also play a role. Riboflavin is important for cellular energy production. It’s believed that disruption of this energy production process might contribute to migraines, and that supplementing with riboflavin might help.

A recent meta-analysis shows that taking riboflavin 100-400 mg by mouth daily for three months, alone or with other natural medicines, somewhat reduces the frequency of migraine attacks as well as the pain and length of migraines. Limited evidence shows that taking riboflavin 400 mg daily might be comparable to some medications used for prophylaxis, including bisoprolol, metoprolol, propranolol and valproate. And while the research is still limited, similar doses of riboflavin might also benefit children.

More high-quality research is needed, but the current evidence is promising. Riboflavin may be a low-cost, low-risk option to help treat and prevent migraine attacks. It’s generally well-tolerated – side effects such as diarrhea and nausea are rare. Check out our recently updated monograph to learn more.

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2021 Natural Medicines Inc. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. Natural Medicines is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.