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Consuming Riboflavin Through Diet May Reduce Migraine Occurrence

Alison Rodriguez
The amount of riboflavin (vitamin B2) consumed through one’s diet may have an impact on migraine.
The amount of riboflavin (vitamin B2) consumed through one’s diet may have an impact on migraine, according to the results of an abstract presented at the American Headache Society 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting.

While previous studies have suggested that dietary supplements of riboflavin are effective at migraine prevention, riboflavin exists widely in the US food supply, and the dietary intake of riboflavin by adults with migraine has not been evaluated. In this observational study, the average daily dietary, supplement, and total riboflavin consumption of adults who reported probable migraine were assessed using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2001 to 2004.

In total, 3634 adults aged 20-50 years old identified with probable migraine status, meaning self-reported migraine or severe headache within 3 months. Dietary riboflavin intake was calculated based on a 24-hour recall dietary interview, while average daily riboflavin intake from supplements was estimated on the supplement section of the survey. These 2 intake levels were combined to compare the total riboflavin intake among participants.

Overall, the average dietary consumption of riboflavin for those with migraine was significantly lower than the control; however, supplement and the total riboflavin consumption of the migraine group and the control was not significantly different.

When comparing intake levels, the dietary riboflavin intake level ranging from 2.07-2.87 mg/day demonstrated a reduction in migraine occurrence when compared to the lowest riboflavin intake quartile. This was similar to the relationship observed among total riboflavin consumptions and overall migraine odds.

“Future migraine prophylaxis studies may consider reevaluating the effective riboflavin supplement dose and the influence of baseline dietary riboflavin intake on the symptoms of migraine,” the authors concluded.


Slavin M. Intake of riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and the occurrence of migraine: a cross-sectional analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001 to 2004 Database. Presented at: 2019 American Headache Society Annual Meeting; July 11-14, 2019; Philadelphia, PA. Abstract 682399. 

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