Riboflavin, aka vitamin B2, may offer migraine sufferers an inexpensive treatment with few side effects. Neurologist Jean Schoenen, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Liege in Belgium, compared 28 migraine patients (21 of them women) who took 400 milligrams of riboflavin daily for three months with 27 others who took a placebo. Both groups started out having an average of four migraines a month, but people who took riboflavin had only two a month at the end of the study. In addition, their headaches were less painful and lasted an average of 1.3 hours less, and they also experienced less nausea and vomiting.
The benefits of a 400-milligram dose of riboflavin (which costs less than 25 cents) start within a month and peak at three months. Schoenen says some of his patients have taken the vitamin for more than three years with no problems, while others use it for three to four months at a time, when migraines flare up.
The RDA for riboflavin for women is 1.3 milligrams, but Schoenen says there is no unsafe dose; because it's a water-soluble vitamin, any excess is excreted in urine.