Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Summary

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) deficiency may increasingly be implicated in the genesis of skin conditions and depression, and underlying deficiency symptoms include sore throat, cracks, sores or burning at the corner of the mouth and lips (cheliosis), the corners of the mouth (angular stomatitis) or tongue (glossitis, magenta tongue), red dry flaking scaly or oily skin on face or elsewhere (seborrhoeic dermatitis), sensitivity to bright lights (photophobia), bloodshot, burning or gritty eyes, formation of blood vessels in the clear covering of the eye (corneal vascularisation), cataracts, depression, and reduced red blood cell count in the absence of reduced haemoglobin or altered size of cells.

Chronic deficiency may be associated with disease states like anorexia, bulimia, migraine headaches, depression, ethylmalonic encephalopathy, immunodepression, cataracts, skin conditions, carpel tunnel syndrome, muscle cramps, pre-eclampsia, atherosclerosis and oesophageal cancer.

About Vitamin B2

Outright chronic vitamin B2 (riboflavin) deficiency is not very common in isolation, but it is implicated in many underlying illnesses and conditions. Its incidence may be increasing due to modern diets plus lifestyle factors which directly deplete the vitamin. These include alcoholism, overconsumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates, caffeine, nicotine as well as chronic mercury toxicity from dental amalgam fillings and thimerosal-based vaccinations. Deficiency is also caused by other factors, such as bowel disorders which impede the absorption of vitamin B2 (that include chronic diarrhoea, food allergies and intolerances, fungal and bacterial overgrowth of the intestine, causes and syndromes of malabsorption like gastric bypass surgery, gastritis, coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis) or due to chronic stress, overconsumption of sugar and alcohol, excessive use of antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antacids, proton pump inhibitors, cytotoxic drugs, steroids and oral contraceptives all of which can result in an inflamed gut wall that limits absorption.

Other factors affecting availability of vitamin B2 include certain prescription pharmaceutical drugs which interfere with its absorption, anorexia nervosa, vegetarianism and limited or unimaginative diet, lactose intolerance, hypothyroidism, hypoadrenia, and prolonged dependence on total parenteral nutrition (TPN).

Deficiency symptoms are mostly those listed in the summary; that is, those that mostly affect skin condition whch include sore throat, cracks, sores or burning at the corner of the mouth and lips (cheliosis), the corners of the mouth (angular stomatitis) or tongue (glossitis, magenta tongue), red dry flaking scaly or oily skin on face or elsewhere (seborrhoeic dermatitis). In addition, deficiency can cause sensitivity to bright lights (photophobia), bloodshot, burning or gritty eyes, formation of blood vessels in the clear covering of the eye (corneal vascularisation), cataracts, depression, and reduced red blood cell count in the absence of reduced haemoglobin or altered size of cells.

Chronic deficiency may be associated with disease states like anorexia, bulimia, migraine headaches, depression, ethylmalonic encephalopathy, immunodepression, cataracts, skin conditions, carpel tunnel syndrome, muscle cramps, pre-eclampsia, atherosclerosis and oesophageal cancer.
These conditions often get misdiagnosed as illnesses in their own right by doctors and psychiatrists unfamiliar with this simple biochemical imbalance and they may resort to prescribing pharmaceutical drugs to manage symptoms without addressing the underlying cause. Vitamin B2 deficiency responds well to the introduction of activated coenzyme forms of vitamin B2.

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