A) ESSENTIAL COENZYME
Vitamin B2 is an essential coenzyme (non-protein portion of an enzyme) of the enzymes flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). Both FNM and FAD are required for the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and thus, the production of energy. These coenzymes are also needed to regenerate certain vital compounds in the body, such as glutathione – the body’s primary detoxification substance. Vitamin B2 is also needed for the body’s manufacture of amino acids and fatty acids, and cells cannot grow or develop without this nutrient. Although there is no specific deficiency disease identified by lack of B2, various symptoms are associated with inadequate intake (see below).
B) EYE HEALTH
Inadequate intake of vitamin B2 can trigger symptoms such as itchy, red, tired and/or light-sensitive eyes. Deficiencies are also associated with an increased risk of developing cataracts. The powerful antioxidant glutathione is one of the major protectors of eye tissue from free radical damage (which otherwise can trigger cataract formation), and vitamin B2 is required for the regeneration of glutathione from its oxidised state.
Please note: In doses less than 10 mg. B2 may help prevent the formation of cataracts due to its effects on glutathione regeneration. However, in patients who already suffer with cataracts, doses higher than lOmg per day may accelerate cataract formation due to increased optical photosensitivity (however, there is no evidence that supplementation with higher doses of B2 will cause human cataract formation in the first place). If one with pre-existing cataracts chooses to take more than lOmg of B2 per day in spite of this risk, it is advisable that they increase intake of eye-protective antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E, selenium, lutein, glutathione, taurine and anthocyanosides from bilberry fruit).
C) MIGRAINE THERAPY
Research suggests that vitamin B2 supplementation may be useful in reducing the severity of migraine headache attacks. The research was carried out based on the theory that migraine headaches may be associated with a decline in mitochondrial energy levels within cerebral blood vessels. The results of the research showed a nearly 70% reduction in migraine severity in those pre-treated with 400mg per day of vitamin B2.
• Eye irritation (sore, red, tired, light-sensitive)
• Cataract prevention
• Migraine headaches
• Sickle cell anaemia
• Stress (as a component of B-complex supplementation)