Sunlight and Tanning Beds Hurt Your Riboflavin Status | Chris Masterjohn Lite #144

This is how sunlight and tanning beds hurt your ribolflavin status. Hi. I’m Dr. Chris Masterjohn of 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 to talk about light and riboflavin. Riboflavin is extremely light-sensitive. This is the reason that we moved away from clear glass jars to contain milk and towards paper cartons or other mechanisms within the store to protect the milk from light because light hitting milk was causing riboflavin to be destroyed in the milk, and in the general population, milk is a significant source of riboflavin. In fact, if you leave milk out in the sun for two hours, that will destroy 50% of its riboflavin. So it’s very important to protect your food from light and to not leave things out on the counter, especially when they’re exposed to windows that have a lot of light coming in, especially when they’re going to be there for a long time. For example, if you’re fermenting milk into kefir, then you might, your instinct might be to use a glass ball jar, but if you do, you want to put a towel over it, keep it in a dark place where it’s not going to be exposed to the light. But the second thing is even inside you, inside yourself, exposure to light will have effects on your own riboflavin status. It will destroy the riboflavin in your blood and in your skin when you’re exposed to light. We know this because for infants who have jaundice, one of the treatments is to use phototherapy. And the way that the phototherapy works is that it oxidizes the riboflavin circulating in the bloodstream, and when the riboflavin oxidizes, it in turn oxidizes the bilirubin that’s circulating, which is the reason for the jaundice, and in doing so, it helps destroy and eliminate that bilirubin. As it turns out, that phototherapy has been known to cause clinical riboflavin deficiency in the newborns. So unfortunately I don’t know how much riboflavin is destroyed by a given amount of exposure to light, but it follows from this that at least in principle, when you go out for morning sunshine, which is great for your circadian rhythm, or when you go out in the afternoon for vitamin D, which is very important to your vitamin D status, or if you go to tanning beds, or you have phototherapy for psoriasis, all of these things are going to hurt your riboflavin status. So what do you do about that? Well, because I don’t know exactly how much riboflavin to match against a specific amount of exposure to light, what I would say is that these are just reasons that you need to be more conscious of your riboflavin status, and you need to be more proactive about looking at the signs and symptoms of riboflavin deficiency, measuring your status with riboflavin blood tests, or making targeted modifications to your diet to include riboflavin-rich foods, or trying a riboflavin supplement to see if some of your important health problems, if you have any, improve with the extra riboflavin. Toward that end, I’ll be doing a couple more episodes on other things that could impact your riboflavin status and how to make sure you’re getting enough. 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. Nevertheless, many people who have backgrounds in nutrition are saying that it is an amazing refresher course full of nuggets of valuable information in each lesson. Sign up completely free by Facebook Messenger or by email at This episode is brought to you by Testing Nutritional Status: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet. This is my recipe to empower you to banish any deficiency or nutritional imbalance from your body. I’ve been through the pain of my teeth falling apart, my stomach being in constant pain, and my OCD going off the rails during my stint with veganism to the point where panic attacks were the norm, and I was afraid to eat any of the food in my house. I’ve been through the path of healing using nutrient-dense animal foods to nourish all the systems of my body and become a new person. But I’ve also learned that my needs change over time. The red meat and liver that were so healing in my recovery from veganism later started sapping my energy and brain power only to find out that I’m genetically predisposed to iron overload and need to manage it with blood donations. And I’ve learned from friends, colleagues, and clients that everyone is different. Your needs are not mine, mine aren’t what they were 10 years ago. Yours won’t be what they are now in 10 years. That’s why we need a precise recipe to know exactly what’s missing, exactly what’s overloaded, exactly what’s imbalanced, and an action plan to fix things, and a way to measure our success. That’s what I’ve done with Testing Nutritional Status: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet. Get your copy at And use the code: LITE20 that’s L I T E and the number 20, LITE20 to get 20% off. For ad-free versions of these episodes with transcripts that you can read and getting early access to the episodes often weeks or maybe even months ahead of time, you can sign up for the CMJ Masterpass at and use the code: LITE10 to get 10 percent lifetime discount. The audio of this episode was enhanced and post-processed by Bob Davodian of Taurean Mixing. You can find more of his work at All right, I hope you found this useful. Signing off, this is Chris Masterjohn of This has been Chris Masterjohn Lite. Add I will see you in the next episode.

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