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Can riboflavin prevent or treat migraines?

Background

Vitamin B2 (B2), also known as riboflavin, has been hypothesized to prevent or alleviate migraines by enhancing the function and efficacy of mitochondria in the brain.[1]

The study

This systematic review and meta-analysis assessed the efficacy of B2 in preventing and alleviating migraines. As a secondary outcome, the researchers also compared the effectiveness of B2 with other migraine medications. In total, 9 studies (8 randomized controlled trials and 1 clinical trial) assessing 678 participants were included.

The participants took 400 mg/day of B2 with no other vitamins in 6 studies, 100 mg/day in 1 study, and 400 mg/day combined with other vitamins in 2 studies. Three studies used a placebo as a control group, and 1 study used 25 mg of B2 (to mimic urine color). Four studies compared B2 to other migraine medications (propranolol, sodium valproate, metoprolol, bisoprolol, or aspirin).

The results

B2 was effective in all 5 studies that assessed the number of migraine days, 4 of 5 studies that evaluated migraine duration, all 7 studies that assessed migraine frequency, and 7 of 9 studies that assessed severity. Quantitative analyses confirmed these beneficial effects of B2.

Four studies compared B2 to other migraine medications. Of the 4 studies, 3 found no differences between groups, and 1 study found that although both B2 and beta-blockers decreased migraine frequency, only beta-blockers decreased migraine intensity.

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