Riboflavin supplementation and biomarkers of cardiovascular disease in the elderly

J Nutr Health Aging. 2009 May;13(5):441-6. doi: 10.1007/s12603-009-0081-2.


Background: High levels of total plasma homocysteine are potentially harmful in the elderly.

Objective: To investigated the effects of oral riboflavin supplementation on plasma total homocysteine, ferritin, uric acid and C-reactive protein concentration in elderly people with a low riboflavin status. We performed a four-week randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of riboflavin supplementation in seven Portuguese day social centers.

Design: Eighty-eight individuals (66.7% female), aged between 60 and 94 years, volunteered to participate in the study following interview. Forty-two subjects, with an erythrocyte glutathione reductase activation coefficient (EGRAC) >or= 1.2, were included in the intervention trial. All subjects gave informed consent. Study subjects were administered 10 mg riboflavin (n=21) or placebo (n=21) each day for 28 days.

Results: Riboflavin supplementation significantly decreased plasma tHcy (P=0.005) and EGRAC (P=0.014), but not plasma ferritin, uric acid or C-reactive protein.

Conclusions: In this elderly group, we found that 10 mg/day oral riboflavin supplementation lowered plasma homocysteine concentrations in subjects with low riboflavin status.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Folic Acid / blood
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods
  • Geriatric Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Homocysteine / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Portugal
  • Riboflavin / administration & dosage*
  • Riboflavin / blood*
  • Uric Acid / blood
  • Vitamin B Complex / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin B Complex / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Homocysteine
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Uric Acid
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Ferritins
  • Folic Acid
  • Riboflavin