Reader’s Question: I’ve recently been diagnosed with macular degeneration. I’ve heard that I should be taking “vitamin G,” but I’m not sure where I can get it. Can you help?
Dr. Glenn Rothfeld: Vitamin G is one of the nutrients that has vision-improving potential – it can even reduce your risk of cataracts. There’s even some evidence that it can slow down vision loss, along with vitamins A and C and zinc and selenium.
It’s even been shown to be critical to thyroid function and can ease the pain of migraines (and even prevent them!).
But “vitamin G” can be difficult to find – mostly because it’s an outdated term for one of the eight B vitamins!
It’s more widely known as vitamin B2, or riboflavin, which means you can get it as part of your B complex vitamin supplements.
Riboflavin naturally comes from brewer’s yeast, sweet potatoes, eggs, almonds, mushrooms, and dark green leafy vegetables – but it’s most abundantly found in wheat bran and other whole grains. (The milling process usually removes the riboflavin, so some bread products and pastas are enriched with it.)
That means that if you’re following the low-carb Paleo diet I so often recommend, it’s possible that you’re not getting enough riboflavin from the food you eat.
Your doc can check your blood levels, but one of the telltale signs of a riboflavin deficiency is dry, cracked lips (no matter how much you moisturize them). Not having enough B2 can also cause other issues in and around the mouth, including canker sores.
If your doc recommends you take specifically a riboflavin supplement, I point my patients to riboflavin 5-phosphate.
And better yet – there’s no evidence of adverse effects when bulking up on your B2.
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Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing