Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is a water-soluble vitamin and is very safe and very well tolerated.
Riboflavin was discovered in 1920, isolated in 1933, and first made in 1935.
Biochemical signs of depletion arise within only a few days of dietary deprivation.
Riboflavin ‘5 phosphate (R5P), the active form of B2, is known to be the central component of the cofactors flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and flavin mononucleotide (FMN), which is necessary to all flavoproteins. (1)
These two coenzymes (FAD & FMN) are of vital importance in normal tissue respiration (beta-oxidation and complex II of electron transport chain), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) activation, tryptophan to niacin conversion, fat, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism, glutathione reductase-mediated detoxification, red blood cell formation, antibody production, and regulating human growth, reproduction and thyroid activity. This vitamin is also essential for healthy skin, nails, and hair. (2)
Vitamin B2 enhances endogenous defenses and is healing
Xanthine oxidase, a FAD-dependent enzyme, catalyzes the oxidation of hypoxanthine and xanthine to uric acid. Xanthine is a purine base compound such as caffeine, inosine, theobromine and theophylline.
Uric acid is one of the most effective water-soluble antioxidants in the blood.
Riboflavin deficiency can result in decreased xanthine oxidase activity, reducing blood uric acid levels, weakening antioxidant defenses. (3
Xanthine oxidase also enhances the reduction of excessive nitric oxide (NO) and reduces free radical formation in the mitochondria. NO is anti-androgen, pro-viral, etc… More on that in the future.
The antioxidant nature of riboflavin protects the body against oxidative stress, especially from lipid peroxidation
and reperfusion oxidative injury. (4
) Lipid peroxidation is when free radicals “steal” an electron from an unsaturated fat causing it to become oxidized and create harmful byproducts.
Riboflavin increases anti-oxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT), which will protect the body against oxidative stress, by neutralizing free radicals such as superoxide and hydrogen peroxide.
Glutathione reductase is a FAD-dependent enzyme that participates in the redox cycle of glutathione. The glutathione redox cycle plays a major role in protecting organisms from very toxic reactive oxygen species, such as hydroperoxides for example.
Glutathione reductase, an enzyme, requires FAD to regenerate reduced glutathione from oxidized glutathione. Riboflavin deficiency has been associated with increased oxidative stress (5
Riboflavin has an anti-endotoxin
(as it’s powerful antibacterial and antagonizes toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)) effect and protects from colonic inflammation. The beneficial microorganisms contained in fecal bacteria use riboflavin as an electron acceptor that ensures their survival and (6
) riboflavin has potent and rapidly bactericidal (kills bad bacteria) activity against bad bacteria, such as Clostridium difficile, possibly by increasing the bacteria F.prausnitzii, which is a beneficial gut microbe.
Endotoxins enter your system through the gut wall, inducing inflammation and increasing serotonin.
F. prausnitzii is a bacterium that directly produces butyrate (short-chain fatty acid), which helps to sterilize the gut and kill bad gut microbes. In addition, F. prausnitzii has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties and also improves gut barrier function, not only through the production of butyrate but also by producing specific anti-inflammatory peptides.
R5P is highly effective in lowering excessive nitric oxide production triggered by endotoxins. Endotoxins can come from toxins in food, undigested foods, anything harmful that enters the body. Endotoxins irritate the gut and increase serotonin, cortisol as well as estrogen. This can be very person specific, so avoid any specific food that brings down your mood, energy and that just doesn’t make you feel great and give you bloating, flatulence, stomach aches, etc.
Adding the amino acid valine together with R5P greatly enhances the effectiveness of R5P thus allowing for a lower dose to be used to achieve the same effects.
In conjunction with the liver enzyme cytochrome P-450, FAD & FMN, also participate in the metabolism and detoxification of drugs and toxins by the liver, thus decreasing toxins in the body, and improving health. (7
Riboflavin also strengthens macrophages (immunity) and significantly lower inflammatory markers (TNF-α, NO, IL-6, and IL-10). (8
Vitamin B2 improves Methylation and lowers homocysteine
Riboflavin (in the form, FAD) is required as a cofactor for the key folate-metabolizing enzyme, MTHFR, that plays an important role in maintaining the specific folate coenzyme required to form methionine from homocysteine. A deficiency is B2 will lead to lower MTHFR levels, due to low folate methylation and thus could lead to higher homocysteine levels in the body.
In the TCA cycle, FAD is used as a cofactor in the enzyme succinate dehydrogenase, which catalyzes succinate to fumarate, producing FADH2 thus aiding in energy production through the electron transport chain. A deficiency slows down the TCA cycle and less energy is produced.
In the electron transport chain, FMN is one of the components of complex I while FAD is involved in the activity of complex II. These complexes’ are crucial for ATP production.
Vitamin B2 improves Exercise performance
Exercise greatly increases the need for this vitamin due to increased energy demand, increase lactic acid and ammonia that needs metabolizing, and these processes are all B2 dependent.
Vitamin B2 balances Neurotransmitters and also deactivates estrogen
Riboflavin is a cofactor of the enzyme MAO-A, which increases catecholamine degradation such as serotonin and noradrenaline, thus keeping catecholamine levels in balance. MAO-A predominantly increases serotonin uptake, so activating it will be great for lowering serotonin and increasing the dopamine:serotonin ratio.
Riboflavin and thiamine
are needed for complete deactivation of estrogen in the liver
. With a deficiency is one of these vitamins will prevent full deactivation of estrogen.
a) The synthesis of the niacin-containing coenzymes, NAD and NADP, from the amino acid tryptophan, requires the FAD-dependent enzyme, kynurenine mono-oxygenase. NAD is very important for oxidative metabolism, and the ability to burn glucose for fuel and generate adequate CO2. More on vitamin B3 (niacinamide) here
b) Is required for the activation of vitamin B6
. FMN is required by the FMN-dependent enzyme, pyridoxine 5′-phosphate oxidase (PPO), to convert vitamin B6 to its active form, pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (P5P) (9
c) Supplementation with vitamin B2 in adults can play a positive role in reducing the frequency and duration of migraine
attacks with no serious side effects. (10
) 200mg is usually advised against a migraine.
d) FAD controls the circadian clock in a light-independent manner
). Thus it can be beneficial in resetting or adjusting the circadian clock after changing time zones. It might not perhaps help you fall asleep, but it will help your sleeping pattern change faster.
Take 10mg of B2 (R5P) upon arriving at your new destination.
e) FMO3 gene mutations are usually associated with mild or intermittent trimethylaminuria, which is a build-up of trimethylamine, a byproduct of choline. This results in a fishy odor. Vitamin B2 supplementation (200 mg/day) reduced trimethylamine excretion through sweat and breath, and increased its metabolism, thus reducing fishy body odor. (12
f) Vitamin B2 deficiency can also contribute to cataracts
. Also, riboflavin-dependent photoreceptors (cryptochromes) identified in the retina are thought to play a role in the process of dark adaptation (13
). Dietary riboflavin might influence dark adaptation through these photoreceptors, through interaction with vitamin A, or independently. (15
g) It plays a role in the process of thyroid hormone deiodination
, which is the conversion of the prohormone, T4, into the active thyroid hormone, T3. (16
Vitamin B2 is abundant is organ meat such as the liver and kidney, as well as in dairy.
- IdealabsDC Energin – 15mg B2 (R5P) per serving, 30 servings. Also contains 50mg thiamine HCL, 100mg niacinamide, 6mg B6 (PLP) and 1mg biotin. 99.9% purity ingredients and offer close to 100% topical absorption of all ingredients.
- Vitamin B2 – 100mg per cap, 100 caps. Bite the tablets in 5ths so that you ingest only 20mg per day. Take higher dosages if it’s for migraines.