8 important causes for Riboflavin Deficiency


Like thiamine and niacin, riboflavin is a member of the B-complex group. It unites with enzymes to help cells used oxygen. Riboflavin is present in foods in Free State, in combination with phos­phate or with protein and phosphate. It is present in the body tissues as the coenzymes or flavoproteins. The coenzymes are flavin mono­nucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleatide (FAD). Stores of riboflavin are guarded very carefully in the body, so that even during severe deficiency a little amount is found in the liver, kidney and heart. It is absorbed from the upper part of the small intestine.

A dietary deficiency disease called ariboflavinosis emerges from a long, continued, drastic dietary shortage of riboflavin. It may be found in individuals who consume a marginal diet devoid of dairy products, other animal protein sources and leafy vegetables.

Causes of Ariboflavinosis


(i) Effect of heat.

Riboflavin is lost in the process of heating e.g. Pasteurisation, evaporation and drying of milk causes 10 to 20 per cent loss of riboflavin. The use of alkalies like soda also causes it to deteriorate.

(ii) Exposure to Sunlight.

Riboflavin becomes inactive or is destroyed in sunlight: A bottle of milk if kept out in direct sunlight for 3½ hours loses 75% of the riboflavin.


(iii) Decreased phosphorelation

In the intestine makes Vitamin B, less available in the body.

(iv) Gastro intestinal disorder

Such as vomiting and nausea interfere with food intake. In the same way diarrheal disorders such as amoebic and bacillary dysentery, chronic ulcerative colitis (painful ulcers in the large intestines) interfere with absorption from the intestinal tract. Short circuiting operations in the gastrointestinal tract, likewise lead to insufficient absorption.


Cirrhosis of the liver is often accompanied by signs of inadequate supply of riboflavin, presumably due to improper utilisation of the vitamin.

(v) Plant foods.

Vitamin B2 is found in bound form which further reduces its availability.

(vi) Diuresis


Increased elimination of urine) in such circumstances riboflavin is lost increasingly.

(vii) In illness

The administration of some antibiotics results in an excessive output of riboflavin causing a deficiency. A similar state is observed during diabetes.

(viii) During the periods of physiological stress


Such as rapid growth pregnancy and lactation signs of riboflavin deficiency may appear.

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