Riboflavin Deficiency Linked to Arthritis

Riboflavin Deficiency Linked to Arthritis

There is increasing evidence that excessive free-radical activity (oxidative stress) is a major factor in the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. Glutathione (in its reduced form) is an effective antioxidant which helps protect cell membranes against oxidative stress and thereby combats inflammation. Glutathione is continually regenerated through the action of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which also helps combat free radicals.

Glutathione peroxidase itself needs an ample supply of a coenzyme derived from riboflavin (vitamin B2) in order to be optimally active.

Now British researchers report that patients with active rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to be deficient in riboflavin than are patients whose arthritis is inactive. The study involved 91 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (57 with active disease) and 220 healthy, matched controls. Biochemical riboflavin deficiency was prevalent both in controls (41 per cent) and in patients (24 per cent). Patients with the active disease were, however, much more likely to be deficient than were patients with the inactive disease (33 per cent vs nine per cent). Patients with the active disease had significantly more pain, a longer duration of morning stiffness, and lower grip strength.

The researchers found that glutathione peroxidase activity was higher in patients than in controls and attribute this to the chronic exposure to oxidative stress experienced by the patients. Nevertheless, the researchers believe that even the increased glutathione peroxidase activity is insufficient to deal with the disease and alleviate its symptoms.

They suggest that the beneficial glutathione peroxidase activity can be boosted by supplementation with riboflavin and recommend that this possibility be further evaluated.

Health Reform Products Ltd.

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By Hans R. Larsen

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