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Is Riboflavin Effective for Headaches, Depression & Migraines?

Is Riboflavin Effective for Headaches, Depression & Migraines?

According to the World Health Organization, more than 264 million people throughout the world are dealing with depression.

It is a common disorder in modern days. That is why you might be looking for new ways to fight it.

Can riboflavin play a role in dealing with this condition?

In this article, we are focusing on the correlation between riboflavin and depression. Let’s take a look at the scientific evidence at whether this vitamin can help to fight depression and related symptoms.

What You Should Know About Riboflavin

Riboflavin belongs to the category of B vitamins. Its commonly used name is vitamin B2. The crucial characteristic of this nutrient is that it is soluble in water. As all B vitamins, it participates in energy production and plays a role in the metabolism of the human body.

You can obtain riboflavin from many foods and other natural sources. Here is the list of the best sources of this vitamin:

  • Beef liver – a single ounce can ensure 75% of the recommended daily value.
  • Cereals – the cereals you consume for breakfast can secure a generous quantity of riboflavin per serving. However, make sure to get a fortified version.
  • Oats – while we are talking about breakfast, oats are another great source of riboflavin.
  • Yogurt – go with a fat-free variant, and you still get approximately 45% of the daily DV of vitamin B2.
  • Egg – scrambled eggs are an excellent breakfast choice, and they secure a 15% daily intake of this vitamin.

You can also find vitamin B2 in beef steak, clams, milk, almonds, mushrooms, cheese, quinoa, etc. The alternative is using a natural supplement that contains this vitamin and other nutrients.

What Is the Recommended Daily Intake of Riboflavin?

As expected, the quantity of riboflavin that you need varies on your age.

The scientists estimate that adults need from 1.1mg (females) to 1.3mg (males).

Here is an exact table with the recommended values in different ages:

Recommended dietary allowance of riboflavin (https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/riboflavin#RDA)

An important thing to there are no reports of side effects or toxicity of consuming too much vitamin B2.

At the moment, there is no tolerable limit set for this substance. That means you can benefit from an increased intake of riboflavin, especially if you have a deficiency or dealing with a health problem.

What Are the Potential Effects of Riboflavin on Depression, Anxiety, Headaches & Migraine Symptoms?

Research Study 1 (Riboflavin & Depression):

One of the studies we found was published in the Journal of American College Nutrition in 2011. The researchers explain it as a cross-sectional project that included 45 female clinical nurses dealing with depression, and 53 nurses that didn’t show any depression signs. They used the Beck Depression Inventory to measure their progress.

The results showed that deficiency of riboflavin seemed to be prevalent in subjects dealing with depression.

That indicates not allowing vitamin B2 deficiency could help in preventing depression or relieving its symptoms.

Research Study 2 (Riboflavin & Depression):

Another study analyzed the effects of various B vitamins on symptoms related to depression appearing during adolescence. The Japanese scientists that worked on the study analyzed more than 3,000 boys and 3,400 girls from high schools in two cities.

The research involved a questionnaire filled by the participants. The depression scale of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies was used to measure depressive symptoms.

According to the results, low levels of riboflavin in girls could increase depressive symptoms, and vice versa.

The study didn’t notice a similar effect for boys. However, some other B vitamins proved to be important in dealing with depression-like symptoms.

Research Study 3 (Riboflavin & Depression):

The Journal of American College Nutrition did another study in 1992 and focused on elderly participants. A total of 14 patients diagnosed with depression participated and received a B vitamin complex as an additional treatment.

According to results, the scientists confirmed that B vitamins, including riboflavin, could assist in improving the treatment effects in healing geriatric depression.

It is worth noting that riboflavin plays a role in maintaining optimal functions of hormones, nerves, brain, and body repair, and cell growth. Riboflavin ensures that the body can process food that we ingest properly.

That way, the human organism can convert vitamin B2 into body fuel, which keeps the energy at an optimal level. It could also help in dealing with depression-like symptoms, which are often followed by a lack of energy.

Research Study 4 (Riboflavin & Mood):

According to the results of a study published in Neuropsychology in 1995, long-term vitamin supplementation could improve your mood. The study involved 129 healthy adults who agreed to take a mixture of nine vitamins for an entire year.

The results indicate that the positive mood was particularly influenced by an improvement in levels of pyridoxine and riboflavin.

The participants who took the supplementation felt a positive change in their mood compared to those taking a placebo.

Research Study 5 (Riboflavin & Migraines/Headaches):

Migraine attacks could also affect the positive mood. However, multiple studies showed that vitamin B2 could be effective against migraine attacks and preventing them from happening at all. The researchers published in 2004 focused on patients that received vitamin B2 daily.

The headache frequency was significantly reduced after consuming riboflavin in the long run.

Research Study 6 (Riboflavin & Postpartum Depression):

Japanese researchers conducted another study in 2006, and its focus was postpartum depression. The scientists wanted to know if B vitamins could decrease the risk of this problem appearing following childbirth. The results revealed an intriguing discovery.

The females who consumed riboflavin in the third quartile had a lower risk of developing postpartum depression.

The conclusion of the researchers was that riboflavin might have a protective role against this condition. That is another reason why women should consider vitamin B2 supplementation.


Vitamin B2 is called an ESSENTIAL VITAMIN for a good reason! Because it helps essential body functions working at tip-top shape! It's no surprise so many scientists found that vitamin B2 can have such great benefits for your mood and state of mind.

Riboflavin is the best way to get Vitamin B2 in supplement form.


  1. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression
  2. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Riboflavin-HealthProfessional/
  3. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/riboflavin#RDA
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22081620
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20716710
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1578091
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5478268/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7477807
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15257686
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16815556


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