Vitamin B2 Deficiency: Symptoms And Risk Factors

vitamin b2 deficiency

Vitamin B2 deficiency is especially dangerous when the diet is poor, because the human body releases vitamins continuously, so it is not stored. A person with B2 is usually deficient in other vitamins.

There are two types of riboflavin deficiency:

  • Basic riboflavin deficiency occurs when a person’s diet is low in vitamin B2
  • Second riboflavin deficiency occurs for another reason, either because the intestines cannot properly absorb vitamins, or the body cannot use them, or because it is rapidly excreted

Riboflavin deficiency is also known as ariboflavinosis.

Signs and symptoms of deficiency include:

  • Angular cheilitis, or cracks in the corners of the mouth
  • Cracked lips
  • Dry skin
  • Inflammation of the oral mucosa
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Mouth sores
  • Red lips
  • Sore throat
  • Scrotal dermatitis
  • Fluid in the mucous membranes
  • Iron deficiency deficiency
  • The eyes can be sensitive to bright light, and they can bite, have water or become bloody

People who drink a lot of alcohol are at greater risk of vitamin B deficiency.

Risk Factors

Vitamin B2 is often considered safe. Overdose is not possible, as the body can absorb up to 27 milligrams of riboflavin, and excrete any additional amounts in the urine.

However, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially as this may interfere with some medications.

The supplements can interact with other medications and B2
supplements may affect the effectiveness of other drugs, such as anticholinergic drugs and tetracycline.

Sometimes a doctor may recommend a supplement, for example, if the patient is taking a medication that could interfere with riboflavin absorption.

Drugs that can affect riboflavin levels in the body include:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants, such as imipramine, or Tofranil
  • Other antidepressants, such as chlorpromazine, or Thorazine
  • Methotrexate, used for cancer and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Phenytoin, or Dilantin, is used to control fainting
  • Probenecid, for gout
  • Thiazide diuretics, or water pills

Doxorubicin, a drug used in cancer treatment, can lower riboflavin levels, and riboflavin may affect the way doxorubicin works.

The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM) recognizes that very high levels of vitamin B2 can lead to nausea, numbness, burning or stinging yellow or orange urine, and sensitivity to light. To prevent vitamin B deficiency, they suggest using a complex vitamin B if you need to supplement.


What causes lack of vitamin B2?

Riboflavin deficiency usually occurs with deficiencies of other B vitamins due to a diet low in vitamins or an absorption disorder. People have painful cracks in the corners of the mouth and on the lips, scaly patches on the head, and a magenta mouth and tongue.

What does vitamin B2 do for you?

Vitamin B2, also called riboflavin, is one of 8 B vitamins. All B vitamins help the body to convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B-complex vitamins, also help the body metabolize fats and protein.

How do you treat vitamin B2 deficiency?

For treating low levels of riboflavin (riboflavin deficiency) in adults: 5-30 mg of riboflavin (Vitamin B2) daily in divided doses. For preventing migraine headaches: 400 mg of riboflavin (Vitamin B2) per day. It may take up to three months to get the best results.

Does Vitamin B2 help you lose weight?

Weight loss increases your need for riboflavin by upwards of 60%. More than 20 minutes of cardio 6 days per week increases your need by nearly 60%, too. If you're purposefully dieting and exercising to lose excess weight, you can see how easy it would be to become deficient in this important vitamin.

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