Signs of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Deficiency
As one of the water soluble B vitamins, suffering from a vitamin B2 deficiency tends to be rare. Dietary sources of riboflavin are plentiful and the nutrient is easily absorbed by healthy individuals. However, a deficiency is sometimes seen in people who suffer from chronic liver disease, and people who are chronic alcoholics. When a deficiency does occur it can result in a significant decrease in the conversion of macro-nutrients (carbs, fats, and protein) into energy by the body. This can result in serious weakness and fatigue.
Also women who are taking birth control pills may want to take a vitamin B2 supplement. While taking the pill, the absorption of riboflavin by the body is reduced. Additionally, vitamin B2 deficiency has been associated with cleft lip and other palate-related developmental deformities.
One of vitamin B2’s primary functions and benefits is in maintaining the health of skin and other body tissues. A deficiency of riboflavin will will generally affect the skin and mucous membranes. The early signs of a vitamin B2 deficiency are having a sore, painful throat, and getting sore, cracked skin at the corners of the mouth. Additional signs of a deficiency include skin lesions and sores (especially around the mouth) and a red, painful tongue. If the deficiency persists, the symptoms may worsen. Eventually, the tissues of the tongue and throat could become quite swollen, inflamed, and painful.
A vitamin B2 deficiency often results in various skin-related problems. The skin may become dry, flaky, and cracked. It can even result in seborrheic dermatitis. It could also lead to oily hair and skin, wrinkled skin, and splitting of fingernails and toenails.
A deficiency of vitamin B2 sometimes also results in various eye problems and conditions. It can result in vision problems, such as blurred vision, light sensitivity, and night blindness. A deficiency can also result in itchy, watery, bloodshot, or burning eyes, and even cataracts.
Insufficient vitamin B12 can also result in anemia and damage to the nervous system in the form of peripheral neuropathy.
Signs of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Overdose and Toxicity
There is generally very little risk of suffering from vitamin B2 toxicity. As it is a water soluble nutrient, excess quantities are efficiently flushed out of the body through urine. Supplements often contain very large doses of B vitamins though. With excessive supplementation, some minor side-effects may be experienced. These include itchy skin, feelings of numbness, burning or tingling, or becoming overly sensitive to light. Large amounts of vitamin B2 that are excreted via urine can results in urine appearing as a bright, flourescent yellow color. Many people who supplement with B vitamins notice this, but it isn’t harmful.
Keep in mind that vitamin B2 supplements do have the potential to negatively interact negatively with some medications and other supplements. Check with your doctor before taking extra vitamin B2 supplementation if you are taking any of the following medications: tetracycline, a tricyclic antidepressant, probenecid (for gout), Dilantin (for epilepsy), or doxorubicin (for cancer). Also, be aware that ingesting significant quantities of one B vitamin may result in an imbalance with other B vitamins. It is generally advisable to take riboflavin as part of a B-complex supplement that also contains other B vitamins, including vitamins B1 (thiamin), B3 (niacin), and B6.