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What is the cause and treatment for riboflavin deficiency?

Q: I am suffering from riboflavin malabsorption. Whenever I take 10 mg of riboflavin twice daily I do not have a problem. But if I discontinue it, the symptoms like sore tongue and inflammation come back. Please advise.

A:Riboflavin, a water-soluble factor belonging to the vitamin B-complex group (B2), is required for energy metabolism, enzyme function, and synthesis of amino acids & fatty acids. It is not stored in the body and is provided in adequate amounts by a diet rich in meat, yeast and dark-green vegetables. Other sources include oily fish, milk products, eggs, grains and fruits. The daily adult requirement is about 1.5 mg. The deficiency of riboflavin may be seen in individuals consuming a diet deficient in riboflavin-rich foods; people on special diets (diabetes, peptic ulcer disease, weight loss); or individuals having food fads or eating a diet of highly refined and fast foods. It is thus more commonly seen in alcoholics, elderly individuals, patients of mental disease or people belonging to the lower socio-economic status. Riboflavin deficiency does not occur in isolation and is usually part of a multiple-nutrient deficiency. It may also result from a reduction in serum proteins as the vitamin is transported in blood bound to a carrier protein and the non-availability of the protein leads to apparent riboflavin deficiency. Finally, it may also manifest in conditions where antagonists interfere with absorption and/or transport of the vitamin. Please consult a physician or a gastroenterologist who can examine you and find out the cause for your present condition.

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