Fundamentals of Human Nutrition/Riboflavin

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8.2 Riboflavin[edit]

8.2.1 Sources[edit]

8.2.2 Functions[edit]

The water-soluble vitamin Riboflavin, also known as B2, functions in energy metabolism, as an antioxidant, as a coenzyme in many areas, and in redox reactions. Like other B vitamins, riboflavin helps the body convert carbohydrates, fats and proteins into glucose for fuel for the body. In energy metabolism riboflavin is in its coenzyme forms of flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and functions as a hydrogen/electron carrier. Riboflavin also works in combination with some other B vitamins, B6 and folate, in a process in the body that changes these into useable forms. Riboflavin is essential in growth processes and red blood cell production as well.

The electron transport chain is explained in a series of five complexes, of those complexes FMN functions in complex I and FAD in complex II. In the electron transport chain, FAD serves as an electron carrier and accepts electrons to become FADH2. FADH2 then gives its electrons to complex II of the chain that forms ATP molecules that act as energy.

Riboflavin also serves as an antioxidant that is used as a defense by the body to neutralize free radicals and prevent them from multiplying and causing cell and DNA damage. Antioxidants donate electrons to the unstable free radicals making them neutral and therefore unable to harm the body.

Because of its vital functions, riboflavin has medical implications and is used in an attempt to treat some ailments. Riboflavin supplementation may be beneficial in the treatment of migraine headaches, riboflavin deficiency, high homocysteine levels, and cataracts.

• Migraines: Riboflavin cannot reduce the pain or duration of the migraine but may be effective if taken at 400 mg/day in reducing the number of migraine headaches. 
• High homocysteine: People who suffer from hyperhomocysteinemia, or high amount of homocysteine in the blood, may find taking supplemental riboflavin to be beneficial in lowering the levels. Some people are unable to convert homocysteine into the functioning amino acid form methionine used by the body and therefore suffer from high levels of homocysteine in the blood. Taking riboflavin has shown in studies to help lower homocysteine blood levels in people with this condition.
• Cataracts: Because of riboflavin’s function as a coenzyme in bodily processes it has been seen as an effective supplement in the reduction of cataracts. Riboflavin, in combination with       the other B vitamins, helps to promote healthy vision and without all the B vitamin components, vision processes will be impaired. Because the combination of B vitamins is needed for normal vision, riboflavin supplementation will be most useful in combination with a niacin supplement in reducing a person’s chance of developing cataracts.==8.2.3 Requirements==

8.2.4 Deficiency[edit]

8.2.5 Toxicity[edit]


"Riboflavin." Riboflavin. Web. 22 Aug. 2015.

"Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)." University of Maryland Medical Center. Web. 22 Aug. 2015.

Whitney, E., & Rolfes, S. (2002). Understanding nutrition (9th ed.). Belmont, CA:Wadsworth.