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Learn About the Causes and Symptoms of Vitamin B2 Deficiency

Team AckoJan 17, 2024

Also known as riboflavin, Vitamin B2 is among the eight vitamins in the B family. They are considered to be vital for human health. We can obtain Vitamin B2 from several sources, including grains, plants and dairy. Among the many important functions of Vitamin B2 are breaking down food components, aiding better absorption of nutrients and tissue maintenance.

As a water-soluble vitamin, it is carried in the body through the bloodstream, with the excess being expelled from the body in the form of urine.




Importance of Vitamin B2 for the Body

Your body needs Vitamin B2 to break down various nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It helps maintain the supply of energy in the body.

Additionally, Vitamin B2 is essential to maintain the mucous membranes in the digestive system, and ensure proper liver function. It helps keep your skin, muscles and eyes healthy.

The vitamin is also responsible for the production of hormones by the adrenal glands and prevents the development of cataracts.

What is Vitamin B2 Deficiency?

The human body secretes vitamins on a regular basis, which is why it is essential to replenish the same by consuming enough vitamins through diet.

It is not possible for the human body to store vitamins. Normally, a lack of vitamin B2 indicates a deficiency of other essential vitamins as well. In medical terms, a deficiency of riboflavin is called ariboflavinosis.

A vitamin B2 deficiency can be of two types:

  1. A primary riboflavin deficiency occurs when your diet is poor in vitamin B2.

  2. A secondary riboflavin deficiency occurs due to other reasons. This could be due to the inability of the intestines to absorb the vitamins properly or the inability of the body to use the absorbed vitamins. It is also possible that the body may be excreting the vitamins too frequently, which can contribute to a deficiency of the same.

There are many signs and symptoms which can indicate a deficiency of Vitamin B2.

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B2 Deficiency

If you want to assess yourself for a deficiency of Vitamin B2, here are some classic signs and symptoms that you can look out for:

  • Cracks forming at the corners of the mouth, a condition which is also known as angular cheilitis

  • Frequently cracked lips

  • Skin that feels extremely dry

  • Inflammation along the lining of the mouth

  • Inflammation along the tongue

  • Ulcers in the mouth

  • Lips that look too red

  • Soreness in the throat

  • Scrotal dermatitis

  • Filling of fluids in mucous membranes

  • Deficiency of iron

  • Increased eye sensitivity to bright lights or extreme sensation of itchiness in the eyes.

Those who consume excessive quantities of alcohol are at greater risk of developing a Vitamin B2 deficiency. Let's also identify other causes that contribute to a deficiency of Vitamin B2.

Causes of Vitamin B2 Deficiency

Some of the common factors which contribute to a deficiency of Vitamin B2 are as follows:

  • Insufficient consumption of meat and dairy products

  • Consumption of fortified foods

  • Excessive consumption of alcohol

  • Existence of chronic disorders like diarrhoea and liver problems

  • Malabsorption of food

  • Performance of blood filtration processes such as haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis

A certain group of people are more prone to Vitamin B2 deficiency than others: 

  1. Athletes who undergo rigorous exercises tend to experience stress in metabolic pathways, which results in excessive consumption of Vitamin B2. Without additional consumption of Vitamin B2, their body is likely to experience a deficiency. The problem can be more prevalent in the case of vegetarian athletes who do not consume meat, a potentially vital source of riboflavin.

  2. Lactating and pregnant women on a vegetarian diet are more prone to developing a Vitamin B2 deficiency. The same can lead to congenital disabilities in infants.

  3. Since meat and dairy products contain a remarkable quantity of riboflavin, vegans and people who consume minimal dairy items are highly prone to lack of enough Vitamin B2.

  4. A rare neurological disorder called Riboflavin transporter deficiency can make it difficult for the body to absorb and transport Vitamin B2, resulting in a deficiency.

It is thus essential to follow a proper diet and enhance the consumption of Vitamin B2 to maintain a healthy level of riboflavin in the body.

Sources of Vitamin B2

You get most of your supply of Vitamin B2 from the food you consume. There are many sources of Vitamin B2, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Fish

  • Meat

  • Poultry such as beef, chicken, liver

  • Eggs

  • Dairy items

  • Avocados

  • Cayenne peppers

  • Mushrooms

  • Peas

  • Nuts

  • Pumpkins

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Whole grain bread

  • Wheat bran

Since Vitamin B2 is water soluble, much of it can be lost while boiling these foods. The ideal requirement of the vitamin ranges between 1.1 milligrams to 1.6 milligrams per day for men, women, and pregnant and breastfeeding women.


Lack of enough Vitamin B2 in the body can result in significant long-term side effects. It is important to ensure that you take care of your body’s nutritional needs to avoid major health implications.

It is also necessary to invest in a good healthcare plan which can provide decent coverage for medical expenses in case you face any problems due to a deficiency of Vitamin B2.

ACKO’s health plans can enable you to handle any medical emergencies and make it easier for you to access health benefits in times of need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers on Vitamin B2.


Is it possible to obtain Vitamin B2 from any source other than food?

Ans. Vitamin B2 is naturally present in food but is also available as a food supplement. A small amount of riboflavin is produced by bacteria in the gut, but it is not enough to meet the dietary needs of the human body.

At what levels is excessive riboflavin toxic to the human body?

Ans. Food supplements and items are not likely to cause toxicity in the body. The human gut is capable of absorbing only a limited quantity of riboflavin at a given time. Any excess amount of Vitamin B2 is excreted from the body through urine. Therefore, there is no upper limit on the quantity of Vitamin B2 which may pose a danger to the body.

Is Vitamin B2 affected by exposure to light?

Ans. In many food sources, such as milk, prolonged exposure to light can cause the deactivation of the usable form of vitamins. This is why vitamin B2 supplements are typically sold in opaque containers.

What is the action of Vitamin B2 on carbohydrates in the human body?

Ans. Vitamin B2 is considered essential for the human body since it helps convert carbohydrates into adenosine triphosphate, which in turn, provides energy to the body. This compound is also essential for storing energy in the muscles.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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