Signs And Symptoms Of Deficiency

The body's 'storage capacity' is sufficient to provide riboflavin for 2-6 weeks when nutritional status is normal, but during protein deficiency the stores are significantly reduced.

Initial symptoms of riboflavin deficiency are often non-specific and include: weakness, fatigue, mouth pain and personality changes. Isolated riboflavin deficiency seldom occurs and is usually associated with a deficiency of other B group vitamins. Other signs and symptoms are:

• angular stomatitis, cracked lips, cold sores and cheilosis

• glossitis, magenta tongue (Lo 1984)

• failure to grow in children

• ocular and visual disturbances with symptoms such as burning, itching and sensitivity to light and conjunctivitis

• scaly and greasy dermatitis affecting the nasolabial folds, ears, eye lids, scrotum and labia majora (Lo 1984)

• desquamative dermatitis

Of interest, a study of 154 pregnant women at increased risk of pre-eclampsia found that those who were riboflavin deficient were 4.7-fold more likely to develop the condition than those with adequate levels (Wacker et al 2000).

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