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VITAMIN B5 IT IS EVERYWHERE


Written by Dr. Welsh, Published on 07 June 2014

Vitamin B5: It's Everywhere, It's Everywhere!

by Don V. Richards

Vitamin B5 is a lot like that fictional superhero "Chickenman," whose on-the-air slogan was "He's everywhere, he's everywhere!" Vitamin B5 is also called pantothenic acid. The word "pantothenic" comes from the Greek "pantothen," meaning "from everywhere." That's a reference to the fact that small quantities of Vitamin B5 are found in almost every food.

That's good news because Vitamin B5 is an essential nutrient - that is, it's absolutely necessary for life itself. It's believed by some scientists that Vitamin B5 supplementation can help reduce stress and anxiety, speed wound healing, and help with arthritis pain. Some research supports these claims, but some does not. Studies are ongoing.

Vitamin B5 is necessary, like the other B vitamins, for the conversion of food substances - fats, proteins, and carbohydrates -- into fuel and energy for your cells. Unless this process takes place, you'll die. Vitamin B5 is also a necessary component of Coenzyme A, itself needed for this same process. Coenzyme A is also an essential component in the body's synthesis of essential fats, certain neurotransmitters (chemicals needed for nervous system functioning), melatonin (needed for healthy sleep), and hemoglobin (an essential ingredient of red blood cells).

Pantothenic acid is water soluble instead of fat soluble, so it cannot be stored by the body - and any amount that isn't immediately used is excreted in the urine. It also cannot be synthesized by the body - so an intake of B5 is necessary on a regular basis for all of us just for normal health.

Vitamin B5 deficiency is very rare because the vitamin can be naturally found in so many foods. But B5 deficiency disease can occur in cases when diets are very poor. Pantothenic acid deficiency was known among prisoners of the Japanese during World War 2 in Japan, Burma, and the Philippines, for example. Sufferers reported symptoms of tingling and and burning sensations in the feet, accompanied by a general numbness. Participants in a modern study designed to test for pantothenic acid deficiency reported insomnia, gastrointestinal pain, headache, fatigue, numbness, and tingling of the extremities. The cure is simple: Restore a normal level of Vitamin B5 by administering supplements or changing the diet.

Pantothenic acid has been shown in animal tests to speed wound healing, and it had a similar effect on cultured human skin cells in the laboratory when those cells were given an artificial wound - it caused more new skin cells to migrate, and also increased the speed of their migration, and both effects are likely to lower wound healing times. However, the results haven't been replicated in human studies yet, so more research is needed.

One study found that application of pantothenic acid reversed hair graying in laboratory rats. As a result, many soap companies started to incorporate B5, or one of its derivatives, in their shampoos. But there's no evidence yet that the nutrient has a similar effect on human beings.

Vitamin B5 also is a critical ingredient for the the body's synthesis of red blood cells, sex hormones, and stress-related hormones. Pantothenic acid is also needed for proper functioning of the human digestive tract. Without Vitamin B5, the body cannot optimally utilize Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), another necessary nutrient in the B complex family.

A Vitamin B5 derivative called pantethine has been shown by several studies to bother lower the levels of "bad" cholesterol and raise the levels of "good" cholesterol in the human bloodstream. 300 mg of pantethine, taken three times a day for a total of 900 mg daily, was found significantly more effective than a placebo in these tests. Pantethine was also tested on diabetic patients undergoing hemodyalisis with similar beneficial effects, and no negative side effects were noted.

Some studies suggest that a lack of pantothenic acid might cause some of the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It was discovered that people with the disease had lower levels of Vitamin B5 in their bloodstreams than non-sufferers, and those with the least pantothenic acid had the worst symptoms. Research in 1980 showed that 2,000 mg of a type of Vitamin B5 called calcium pantothenate gave relief from arthritis symptoms. Studies continue in this area.

Pantothenic acid is part of the B complex family of vitamins. When supplementing with Vitamin B5, it's a good idea to take a B complex supplement instead of just Vitamin B5 on its own. It's believed that there is a synergistic effect with the B complex vitamins, in which the total benefits exceed the sum of the benefits of each individual vitamin. Get them seriously out of balance, and you won't get the full effect.

The recommended daily dosage of Vitamin B5 for adults is 5 mg for adults, 6 mg for pregnant women, and 7 mg for breastfeeding women. But remember, some of the special benefits discussed above only kick in with doses somewhat larger than the minimums. But extremely high doses can trigger diarrhea and may increase the danger of bleeding due to other injuries.

You should be able to get enough Vitamin B5 without supplementation just by eating a varied, healthy diet. Foods rich in pantothenic acid include milk, yogurt, legumes, mushrooms, yeast, egg yolk, broccoli, liver, kidney, fish, shellfish, royal jelly, chicken, avocado, and sweet potatoes, along with whole grains - but remember that highly processed grains, like white bread, and canned foods, have less of the nutrient, in some cases 75 percent less.

If you do want to supplement, you should know that there is no established toxic dose for Vitamin B5 -- as no deaths due to pantothenic acid overdose are known to science. Long before toxicity could be reached, other symptoms arise and essentially warn the subject that he's had enough of the nutrient. At 10,000 to 20,000 mg per day, diarrhea generally occurs, and nausea and heartburn have also been noted at unusually high doses. Supplementation even at 1,200 mg per day is "generally well tolerated," according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

One warning, though: If you suffer from hemophilia, you probably shouldn't take Vitamin B5 supplements. It's possible that the vitamin will make it take even longer for bleeding to stop, should you become injured. As always in such cases, even if you're just a little bit unsure, consult a trusted physician.

Living in the 21st century has some disadvantages - our food is often highly processed and unhealthy, for example - but there's never been a time before now when people had such easy access to so much health information. Take advantage of the Information Age - read, learn, and take charge of your own diet and your own health today.

REFERENCES

Christian Nordqvist, "What Is Vitamin B5?," Medical News Today, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/219601.php , accessed 4th June, 2014

University of Maryland Medical Center, Health Reference Guide, "Vitamin B5: Pantothenic acid," http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b5-pantothenic-acid , accessed 4th June, 2014

Kimura, S., et al., (1980), "Antagonism of L(-)pantothenic acid on lipid metabolism in animals," Journal of Nutr. Sci. Vitaminol. 26 (2): 113-7

WebMd, "Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)," http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-853-PANTOTHENIC%20ACID%20%28VITAMIN%20B5%29.aspx?activeIngredientId=853&activeIngredientName=PANTOTHENIC%20ACID%20%28VITAMIN%20B5%29 , accessed 4th June, 2014

Higdon, Jane, Linus Pauling Institute, "Micronutrient Information Center - Pantothenic Acid," http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/pa/ , accessed 4th June, 2014

Gropper, S. S., et al., (2009), Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism, Belmont, CA, Wadsworth, Cengage learning

Organic Facts, "Health Benefits of Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid," http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vitamins/vitamin-b5-or-pantothenic-acid.html , accessed 4th June, 2014


VITAMIN B3 NIACIN THE VITAMIN YOU REALLY FEEL


Written by Dr. Welsh, Published on 22 May 2014

Vitamin B3: Niacin - the Vitamin You Really Feel!

by Don V. Richards

Vitamin B3 - also known as niacin - is one of the few vitamins we can take that often causes an immediate, dramatic effect that we can both feel and see. That effect is called flushing, and a niacin flush is exhilarating to some people, disturbing and annoying to others, but it definitely can't be ignored. A niacin flush can vary from a slight pink color and tingling of the skin on the face and arms - not unlike blushing - to a dramatic reddening that looks and feels like sunburn, along with a sensation of heat. This flush is caused by a dilation of your blood vessels, especially your capillaries. When you get a niacin flush, it's a totally harmless reaction that shows that your body is saturated with this essential nutrient. A niacin flush usually lasts fifteen minutes to half an hour, and afterward you'll often feel more relaxed, with an enhanced sense of well-being. In fact, some doctors recommend that you take niacin right up to the point of slight flushing as an indicator that you've taken just enough. The human body gradually adapts itself to Vitamin B3 supplementation, too, so what causes a flush today might not cause one next month.

One of niacin's amazing properties is that it can help you relax without the need for any artificial substances like "sleeping aids" and help you fall asleep more rapidly at night. Dr. Andrew Saul says "At really large doses, niacin can result in a sedating, calming effect. This is more amazing as it is a nutrient." Saul uses Vitamin B3 not only for help in relaxing, but to improve the mental functioning of people suffering from schizophrenia, dementia, and depression. (He also recommends supplementing at least an equivalent amount of Vitamin C at the same time to moderate B3's effects on the GI tract and other changes.) Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum calls niacin "a natural tranquilizer" and cites a study on rats in which "niacin had similar effects to valium on the turnover of serotonin, noradrenalin, dopamine, and GABA in the areas of the brain that are thought to be affected by anxiety without being addictive. Some experts go so far as to call niacin 'Nature's Valium.'"

Vitamin B3 is also one of the best - and most natural - treatments known for elevating the "good cholesterol" [high-density lipoprotein (HDL)] levels in your bloodstream, and diminishing the bad cholesterol [low-density lipoprotein (LDL)]. Patients taking 3,000 mg of Vitamin B3 daily (starting day one with 1,000 mg, day two with 2,000 mg, and 3,000 mg per day thereafter) were found to have up to a 25 percent lower level of bad cholesterol and a 50 percent reduction in triglyceride levels. These factors also lead to lower heart disease mortality among those taking niacin supplements.

Dr. John A. Rumberger of the Princeton Longevity Center states that niacin may not help if a patient already has minimized his bad cholesterol levels through "proper diet, attaining a proper weight and body composition, regular aerobic and resistance training" and treatment with statins (cholesterol-reducing prescription drugs). But if that goal has not yet been achieved, then supplementing with Vitamin B3 is "quite clinically appropriate."

According to Dr. Andrew Saul, niacin can also reduce the severity of anxiety and depression. Dr. David Williams recommends patients with arthritis take between 1,000 to 4,000 mg of niacin daily (in the form niacinamide) taken in five or six doses throughout the day, to relieve pain and stiffness in their joints. Niacin in this form, in action very similar to a niacin flush, opens up the blood vessels deep in the joints, giving significant relief.

Studies have shown that niacin helps reduce atherosclerosis - the hardening of the arteries - that is a major cause of cardiovascular disease, one of the civilized world's major killers. If you've already had a heart attack, taking Vitamin B3 supplements makes a second heart attack less likely, according to some recent research.

Research is ongoing to follow up initial clues that niacin also lowers the risk of contracting Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, osteoarthritis, and type 1 diabetes. Dr. David Williams says that if any prescription drug had all the benefits of "dirt cheap" niacin, "the media would be singing its praises."

According to Dr. Abram Hoffer, who practices the regular use of niacin in the treatment of depression and schizophrenia, 1,000 mg of niacin taken three times daily improves memory and can actually reverse senility in some patients. It also, as already stated, gives a relaxing and calming effect without the necessity for using expensive, artificial drugs.

Niacin was first described by a chemist named Hugo Weidel in 1873. Weidel was studying the properties of nicotine, and when oxidizing nicotine using nitric acid he discovered what we now call niacin or Vitamin B3. Originally it was called nicotinic acid, but when its disease-curing and other biological properties became known, it was decided to change the name to prevent the public from getting the misapprehension that cigarettes are good for you (they're not!) or contain vitamins. So "niacin" was coined, combining select letters from the words "nicotinic acid vitamin."

Niacin is one of the water soluble vitamins, meaning that 1) it's needed for life to continue; 2) the body can't produce its own supply; and 3) any B3 beyond what the body can use right now is not stored and is instead almost immediately flushed out in the urine. Therefore, we all need both an adequate and a steady source of niacin.

Niacin deficiency is known as pellagra, and Vitamin B3 was once known as Vitamin P-P for "pellagra preventative." Pellagra symptoms and effects include what doctors sometimes call the "four Ds": dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and death. More specifically, in addition to the above pellagra can cause extreme sensitivity to sunlight, skin lesions, hair loss, aggression, quarrelsomeness, swelling, inflammation of the tongue, insomnia, muscle weakness, confusion, lack of coordination, enlarged and weakened heart, paralysis, and nerve damage. Pellagra is common in Africa and in parts of Asia where diets are often poor - but it's also found in advanced nations among the poor and homeless. Alcoholism, and drug interactions which inhibit the absorption of Vitamin B3, can also lead to the disease. Before its causes were understood, pellagra was a major killer in the American South - it's estimated that over 100,000 died of it there between 1906 and 1940. When untreated, chronic niacin deficiency can kill you in under five years. But there's a simple cure: treatment with niacin or a niacin-containing compound.

Currently the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for niacin is 17 to 35 mg daily - notably higher than for some of the other B complex vitamins. Nevertheless, some physicians say that this is far too low to get maximum benefits from this nutrient, and point out that 3,000 to 9,000 mg daily have been used for treating certain conditions, with no known harm or side effects (outside of flushing). When using such high doses, though, they recommend being under the care of a physician, and accommodating the body to the vitamin by starting out with a low dose and gradually increasing it over time. Since niacin can interact with other medications, it's best to consult your doctor when going outside the boundaries set by the RDA.

What are the possible negative effects of taking Vitamin B3? Well, niacin sometimes irritates the stomach lining if you take it on an empty stomach - so always take it during or immediately after a meal. If you suffer from gout, you should know that niacin can cause you to excrete less uric acid than usual, so avoid taking high-dose niacin if you have gout - though doses in the RDA range and small multiples thereof are probably okay: ask your doctor. The worst side effect reported with niacin use is liver damage, and that side effect was only associated with the timed-release form of niacin, developed to help those who wanted to eliminate the "niacin flush." Just avoid the timed-release type of Vitamin B3 (and regulate your daily input carefully if the harmless flushing bothers you) altogether and this won't be a problem.

It takes a tremendous amount of this very safe vitamin to achieve a toxic dose. A toxic dose in dogs is 5,000 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight. (This would translate to 250,000 mg for a 110-pound human, assuming the toxicity factors remain the same for the two species.) But we don't actually know what the toxic Vitamin B3 dose for humans is, for the simple reason that no one, to scientific knowledge at least, has ever died from taking it. If you experience nausea - a symptom that is very rare - after taking niacin, though, that's definite sign that you've taken too much. (Ironically, nausea is also a symptom of niacin deficiency!)

Vitamin B3 is one of the "B complex" vitamins, and, like the others, is a nutrient absolutely necessary for human life and health. It takes an important part in the body's conversion of carbohydrates (food) into fuel (glucose) for cellular energy and activity.

When considering niacin (Vitamin B3) supplementation, it's often wise to take it as part of a B complex supplement (or multivitamin which contains a blend of the B complex vitamins), because too much of just one of the B vitamins can sometimes cause an imbalance, and it's believed that these essential nutrients act in synergy, in which the total input has a greater beneficial effect that just the sum of its individual parts. Similarly, whether you use supplements or not, it's good to include natural, unprocessed foods rich in Vitamin B3 in your diet, as there are trace elements in these foods that many believe also have a synergistic effect with niacin. Foods rich in niacin include eggs and other animal products, avocados, asparagus, sweet potatoes, carrots, dates, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, broccoli, nuts, whole grains, legumes, and brewer's yeast.

And, as I quoted Dr. Williams saying above, niacin supplements are "dirt cheap," and niacin's benefits are equivalent to what we'd imagine those of a "miracle drug" to be. But niacin is a simple vitamin - not patented or patentable - and one can easily find it at your local drugstore or pharmacy or online from many reputable sellers at very low prices. Checking just Ebay alone, today I found a bottle of 100 tablets (of 250mg each - a pretty high dose!) of Vitamin B3 for as little as five dollars.

There may be some things we don't like about the modern age, but one thing for sure is very good about it: We've never had better information about health more easily and widely available, allowing us to take charge of own health through exercise programs, nutrition, and health supplements in a better-informed way than ever before in history. Take advantage of this situation, and begin achieving better health and a better life today!

REFERENCES

Mayo Clinic Online, "High Cholesterol," http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/niacin/art-20046208?pg=2 , accessed 18 May 2014

Dr. David Williams, "The Many Benefits of Niacin," http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/niacin-benefits/ , accessed 18 May 2014

Rumberger, John, Princeton Longevity News, "The 'new' controversy about Niacin to treat heart disease," http://princetonlongevitynews.com/2011/07/27/the-%E2%80%98new%E2%80%99-controversy-about-niacin-to-treat-heart-disease/ , accessed 19 May 2014



Saul, Andrew W., Doctor Yourself, "How to Determine a Saturation Level of Niacin," http://www.doctoryourself.com/niacin.html , accessed 18 May 2014

Smart Publications, "Overcome Anxiety While Staying Calm and Energized Naturally," http://www.smart-publications.com/articles/overcome-anxiety-while-staying-calm-and-energized-naturally , accessed 18 May 2014

Haas, E.M., "Vitamin B3Niacin," Excerpt from: Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine

"Guidelines for Niacin Therapy For the Treatment of Elevated Lipoprotein a (Lpa)", Rush Hemophilia & Thrombophilia Center, August 15, 2002

Katzung, Bertram G. (2006), Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, New York: McGraw-Hill Medical Publishing Division. ISBN 0-07-145153-6

Barter, P. (2006). "Options for therapeutic intervention: How effective are the different agents?", European Heart Journal, Supplements 8 (F): F47-F53

WebMD, Vitamins and Supplements Lifestyle Guide, "Niacin: Vitamin B3," http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-niacin?page=1 , accessed 18 May 2014

Saul, Andrew, Doctor Yourself Online, "Psychosis, Schizophrenia, and Nutritional Therapy," http://www.doctoryourself.com/psychiatry.html , accessed 18 May 2014


VITAMIN B2 RIBOFLAVIN BENEFITS AND SIDE EFFECTS


Written by Dr. Welsh, Published on 08 December 2018

Vitamin B2: Riboflavin Benefits and Side Effects

by Don V. Richards

Vitamin B2 - also called "riboflavin" after "ribose," the sugar which forms part of its chemical makeup, and "flavus," for its typical yellow color - is a water-soluble vitamin, necessary for human metabolic processes in the body including cell function, growth, and the production of energy. Vitamin B2 is needed for the formation of every single one of our red blood cells and antibodies. Riboflavin is essential for assuring proper growth and development of our reproductive systems, and for the necessary growth of all our body tissues such as skin, ligaments, eyes, nasal passages, nerves and our all-important immune system. Riboflavin also helps produce healthy skin, nails, and hair, and it aids in regulating thyroid activity (which controls how rapidly the body uses food energy and is a major factor in how energetic you feel). Riboflavin helps in the absorption of minerals like iron and folic acid and also helps the body absorb other Vitamins like B1, B3, B6 and others. Riboflavin also helps to enhance our bodies natural immune system by increasing our reserves of antibodies.

The bright orangish-yellow color of riboflavin is what imparts that shade to most B complex and multivitamin supplements, and in fact Vitamin B2 is registered in Europe for use specifically as a safe food coloring agent! Interestingly, because riboflavin fluoresces under ultraviolet light, it has often been used to detect leaks or demonstrate liquid delivery system coverage in industrial applications. A recent development is the use of Vitamin B2 for the 3-D printing of replacement body parts or microneedles used for painless cell-level injections. Formerly, there were side effects from the substances typically used in 3-D printing, but riboflavin is largely non-toxic and so promises to significantly advance progress in this field.

All the B vitamins - often referred to as the "B complex" of nutrients or vitamins - help the body metabolize protein and fat. They convert carbohydrates - food - into glucose - fuel - for our cells and as such are essential for life.

Riboflavin is necessary for the normal development and function of many bodily organs, especially the skin, the linings of the stomach and intestines, and blood cells.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Riboflavin also has an
"antioxidant" effect. Oxidants are harmful particles in the body sometimes called "free radicals." These particles cause damage to cells over time and are strongly implicated as one of the major factors in the degeneration of formerly healthy tissue and in the aging process itself. Free radicals can even damage DNA, and when they do, cells reproduce defectively, which can sometimes lead to cancer. As an antioxidant, Vitamin B2 is thought to help preserve youthful good health, both by itself and in synergy with other antioxidants and nutrients.

Since its water-soluble, its not stored in body fats like some other nutrients and excess amounts are flushed out in the urine. So, to maintain health, we need not only a sufficient supply of riboflavin, we also need a regular supply. Trace amounts of riboflavin are found in the tissues of most animals and plants, so eating a natural, healthy diet usually gives us the necessary amount of B2 without supplementation.

Excellent riboflavin sources include milk (and dairy products generally), eggs, green vegetables (notably asparagus and broccoli), almonds, mushrooms, soybeans, yogurt, cereals and grains enriched with Vitamin B2, asparagus, popcorn, bananas, and most animal-based foods. Vegans and vegetarians especially should take care to get enough of this vital nutrient. Yeast extract is particularly rich in B2.

Riboflavin deficiency is called "ariboflavinosis" - and, naturally, adding Vitamin B2 in such cases is called for. Some symptoms of ariboflavinosis are anemia (low red blood cell count), weakness, dandruff, fatigue, dizziness, hair loss, loss of sleep, poor digestion, slowed mental response, swelling of the throat or tongue, sensitivity to light, skin irritation, and skin cracking or soreness at the edges of the lips. Though the full-blown deficiency is rare, it is sometimes seen among those with very poor diets, severe or chronic diseases, alcoholics, the poor, and elderly. Though often associated with the very poor diets of Third World countries, it is estimated that some 28 million Americans suffer from "sub-clinical" near-deficiency conditions.

For those who are anemic, it is often found that their riboflavin levels are also low, and the effectiveness of the iron therapy usually used in such cases is increased by restoring normal riboflavin levels via supplementation or diet changes.

Riboflavin supplementation along with light exposure (phototherapy) has been found helpful for infants with neonatal jaundice.

In a preliminary study of 31 patients afflicted with Parkinsons disease, every single individual showed, when tested, evidence of Vitamin B2 deficiency. All of those patients who were given 30 mg of riboflavin three times daily for six months showed definite improvements in motor skills and strength. The improvements were evident at three months and were maintained or even improved further at the end of the six month period. (One flaw in this study is that all participants also stopped eating red meat during the trial, and it is not known if this was a synergistic factor in combination with the Vitamin B2 supplementation.)

Some studies suggest that Vitamin B2 can have a positive role in the treatment and prevention of cataracts, and research is ongoing in this area.

Among patients being treated with tricyclic antidepressants, its been found that boosting Vitamin B2 levels improves their scores for both cognitive function and depression. Its thought that the antidepressants themselves may partially suppress normal riboflavin levels, making supplementation a good idea. Some nutritionists believe that Vitamin B2 by itself can be helpful in preventing depression.

Among those suffering from anorexia or bulemia, its often noted that their blood levels of vital nutrients are low - and nearly a third are deficient in Vitamin B2. While dietary changes are obviously called for in such situations, supplementation can have a role while a program of healthy eating is being instituted.

New research also suggests Vitamin B2 in high doses may help prevent migraine headaches. Taking 400 mg per day of riboflavin reduced the number of migraine attacks according to these studies, though it didnt reduce the perceived pain they caused when they did occur.

In high doses, Vitamin B2 can cause an increase in urine flow and will color the urine orange. It can also cause diarrhea. But it is considered otherwise safe. The body will regulate riboflavin levels itself with no ill effects. In the recommended dietary allowance range of 1.4 to 1.6 mg per day, it is also considered safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women - larger doses may be safe, too, but not enough studies have been done to allow certainty, so be careful.

The amount of Vitamin B2 you need will vary depending on your personal health and conditions you may be suffering. For most people, eating a healthy, natural diet rich in green vegetables will provide all the riboflavin you need for normal health.

Sufferers from migraine headaches typically take a daily dose of 400 mg of Vitamin B2 over a period of several months.

If youre dealing with low levels of riboflavin in your blood (Vitamin B2 deficiency) adults typically supplement with 5 to 30 mg every day, separated into several doses.

Those who are following the program for preventing cataracts suggested by some studies take 2.6 mg of riboflavin daily, some along with 40 mg of niacin too.

The official adult recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for Vitamin B2 are (daily figures) are 1.1 mg for non-pregnant or breastfeeding women, and 1.3 mg for men. These values are closely tied to energy expenditure - so those who are highly active may need more than these allowances for normal functioning.

Interestingly, the RDA for Vitamin B2 in Russia is approximately twice the US level - but thats still comparitively low. Nevertheless, about 71 percent of Americans would fall below adequate B2 levels if judged by the Russian RDA.

If you use supplements to achieve the optimal levels of riboflavin, remember that increasing your intake of just one of the B complex vitamins can lead to an imbalance. As long as all safe dosage levels are maintained, its usually better to take a B complex supplement which maintains the natural balance between these beneficial nutrients. Its also thought that they have a synergistic effect when taken together - that is, the benefits of the entire complex are greater than the sum of those of the individual vitamins.

The scientists at the Life Extension Foundation believe that higher than maintenance doses will have a beneficial effect and they include 50 mg of Vitamin B2 in their daily "Life Extension Mix" vitamin and nutrient recommendations - almost 3,000 percent greater than the RDA (though still well under the doses routinely used by migraine patients). Many commonly available supplements provide around half this level - 20 to 25 mg, still far above the RDA.

Riboflavin is not at all toxic when ingested by mouth, though it is possible to achieve toxic doses via injection. Even those given 400 mg per day in the migraine study - far beyond the putative life extension dose - exhibited no short-term side effects at all.

When considering supplements, consider ones made with natural instead of synthetic Vitamin B2. Synthetic riboflavin is supposed to be virtually identical to the natural variety, but some synthetic varieties are produced through the fermentation of genetically modified bacteria, and many health-conscious people are trying to eliminate GMOs (genetically modified organisms) from their diets on the grounds that we just dont know their long-term effects on living things yet. Synthetics can usually be identified by having the letters dl- in front of the nutrients name on the ingredients list, or by having substances ending in -ide, -acid, or -ate as additional ingredients (these are salts or other additives used to make the synthetic forms last longer). Natural-source vitamins also contain trace elements that our bodies have evolved over millennia to ingest along with the foods we eat.

Whatever level and source of Vitamin B2 you choose, remember that our purpose here is to help you make an informed choice - and take charge of your health yourself instead of leaving it in the hands of others. Our diets may be poorer than ever in general today, but its also true that access to the latest research and facts about nutrition and health has never been easier than it is today. Take advantage of the information revolution, and use your own reasoning and judgment - and change your life for the better today!

REFERENCES

Keligman, Nelson, Textbook of Pediatrics, 18th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier, 2007

Kuzniarz, M., Mitchell, P., et al: "Use of vitamin supplements and cataracts: the Blue Mountains Eye Study," American Journal of Ophthalmology, 2001;132(1):19-26

MacLennan, S.C., Wade, F.M., et al, "High-dose riboflavin for migraine prophylaxis in children: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial," Journal of Child Neurology, 2008 Nov; 23(11):1300-4

University of Michigan Health System, "Vitamin B2," http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2925007 , accessed May 13, 2014

Organic Facts, "Health Benefits of Vitamin B2," http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vitamins/health-benefits-of-vitamin-b2-or-riboflavin.html , accessed May 13, 2014

Colorado State University, "Water-Soluble Vitamins," http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09312.html , accessed May 14, 2014

The Institute for Optimum Nutrition, "The Vitamin Controversy," http://www.ion.ac.uk/information/onarchives/vitamincontroversy , accessed May 14, 2014

Charles Pulsipher, "Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamins: Whats the Big Difference?", Raw Vegan Superfoods and Supplements, http://www.sunwarrior.com/news/natural-vs-synthetic-vitamins/ , accessed May 14, 2014

Healthline, "Riboflavin," http://www.healthline.com/natstandardcontent/riboflavin , accessed May 14, 2014

University of Maryland Medical Center, "Riboflavin," http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b2-riboflavin , accessed May 12, 2014

SpectraCell Laboratories, "Vitamin B2: Is it Important?", http://info.spectracell.com/bid/94485/Is-vitamin-B2-Riboflavin-important-YES , accessed May 12, 2014

Shaunacy Ferro, Popular Science, "Vitamin B2 Can Be Used To 3-D Print Medical Implants," http://www.popsci.com/article/science/vitamin-b2-can-be-used-3-d-print-medical-implants, accessed May 12, 2014

GMO Compass, "Vitamins," http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/database/ingredients/204.vitamins.html , accessed May 12, 2014


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