Here's when it makes sense to consider high-dose riboflavin supplementation for strange unexplained health problems. Hi. I'm Dr. Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com. And this is Chris Masterjohn Lite, where the name of the game is "Details? Shmeetails. Just tell me what works!" And today we're going talk about when it makes sense to use high-dose riboflavin supplements for strange unexplained health problems. One thing that we know so far for the track record for high-dose riboflavin supplements is that they are very effective for a significant collection of rare genetic disorders in energy metabolism. Usually these are disorders of riboflavin absorption, transport, activation, or a defect in some riboflavin-dependent enzyme. And depending on what the specific defect is, the signs and symptoms can be different. So, frequently it could be the case that the signs and symptoms focus on fasting intolerance, bouts of severe hypoglycemia, and weakness and exercise intolerance. That might be one set. And then there are other cases where it's primarily neurological problems. For example, problems in controlling the muscles of the face or even sensorineural hearing loss. And the research into how the high-dose riboflavin helps in these situations has led us down the path to believe that what the riboflavin is doing is it's helping proteins fold correctly that would otherwise be misfolded. Every protein in your body has to have some three-dimensional shape in order to carry out its proper function. If it doesn't fold into the correct shape, it's not going to have the right function. And if riboflavin is helping the protein fold into the correct shape, that will restore the function. And most of the research into this has focused on how riboflavin will help riboflavin-dependent proteins fold properly. But it's also the case that we found in the last decade that the folding of far more proteins than that, the folding of probably hundreds if not thousands of proteins is riboflavin-dependent. We also have the case discussed in the last episode where for reasons that we don't completely understand, 400 milligrams a day seems to be the dose of riboflavin that helps with migraines. So there's something going on in energy metabolism in the brain probably that is causing migraines. We don't know exactly what it is, but for some reason, doses of riboflavin that are far beyond anything you could ever get from food appear to be what's effective in treating that. My suspicion is that in the coming decade, we will see a broadening of the scope of the utility of high-dose riboflavin supplementation to help with many things that right now don't seem riboflavin-dependent but do involve some misfolded protein that happens to fold correctly when high-dose riboflavin is supplied. That's as of yet my suspicion, and there is yet no clear evidence that that's the case except what I said before, which is the case of migraines where we're clearly expanding outside the confines of genetic defects in riboflavin-dependent enzymes when we're talking about using high-dose riboflavin for migraines. So the way that I look at it is this. There is no known harm of taking 400 milligrams per day of riboflavin, and there probably is no harm. The only potential harm that I can see is that if you're getting exposure to a lot of ultraviolet light, maybe that light is leading to destructive byproducts when it destroys riboflavin at high doses. This is a completely hypothetical concern. There are many examples of using very high doses of riboflavin, in fact even up to 1500 milligrams per day in some cases, and there's no demonstrated harm from it. So, if someone has strange unexplained health problems, I am NOT saying use this as a reason to not go see a doctor because there may be an important cause for your health problem that medicine would be able to address. So absolutely see a doctor. Absolutely tell the doctor about anything that you might be trying including high-dose riboflavin supplements. But if there is something that you cannot explain that there is no apparent solution to, it seems to me that trying 400 milligrams of riboflavin a day for several weeks or several months to see if it does something is something that might pay off. It might not. But it would probably help us including eventually helping the research community just to know if from anecdotal experience whether high-dose riboflavin supplements is helping in certain cases where nothing else seems to help. Hey, it's a shot in the dark, but it seems like a shot worth taking in some cases. This episode is brought to you by Vitamins and Minerals 101. This is my new free 30-day course providing one lesson a day on each nutrient delivered straight to your inbox. It can go to your email or it can go to your Facebook Messenger. If you get the Messenger version, it's taught by Chris MasterBot, my baby bot. It's more interactive, there are more emojis, and there are more jokes. But both email and Facebook Messenger are incredibly educational. Each lesson covers why the nutrient is important to your health, how to know if you have too little or too much, or the wrong balance with other nutrients, how to get it from food, and when you should think about supplementing. It is not a technical or advanced course. It is completely minimum in its technical jargon. And it is designed for the beginner with no background in nutrition, and no background beyond high school in the basic sciences. 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