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Am J Clin Nutr. 1978 Feb;31(2):247-9.

Riboflavin deficiency in women taking oral contraceptive agents.


The effect of oral contraceptive agents (OCA) on riboflavin nutritional status of women of child-bearing age in a low socioeconomic population was studied. For a control group, 100 women in the same age and socioeconomic group using alternate forms of contraception were selected. Riboflavin deficiency was determined by measuring erythrocyte glutathione reductase activity, a reliable index of the deficiency. None of the women was on vitamin supplements or had clinical conditions effecting dietary intake or utilization. Eleven of 100 women in the control group had biochemical evidence of deficiency. This compared to 24 of 56 OCA users who were deficient. The frequency of deficiency increased among those on OCA for longer periods of time. Thirteen of 17 OCA users for 3 years or more, compared to 11 of 39 users under 3 years were deficient. There were no discernable dietary differences between the groups. These studies demonstrate that riboflavin deficiency is a problem of women in the lower socioeconomic level in the child-bearing age. The use of OCA aggravates the prevalence of deficiency.

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