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Vitamin B2: Riboflavin

Published: July 30, 2022

Almonds are a good source of riboflavin
Almonds are a good source of riboflavin

Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is a water soluble vitamin and essential for maintaining health.

As with most water soluble vitamins, riboflavin cannot be stored in your body for long periods of time and must be replenished daily. 
Vitamin B2 is composed of flavin with the sugar alcohol ribitol attached as a side chain.
In addition to riboflavin, there are two derivatives which function as co-enzymes: flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD).
Although your body only requires small amounts of riboflavin, together with FMN and FAD, the vitamin has several important metabolic functions in your body.
As part of (FMN) and (FAD) riboflavin is involved in oxidation and reduction reactions of energy metabolism:

  • Active in the electric transport chain in mitochondria: a major site of energy metabolism
  • Oxidation of pyruvate: a product of amino acid, glycerol and glucose metabolism during emergy production
  • Fatty acid oxidation and energy production

Anabolic (building), catabolic (breaking down), and conversion processes (changing)

  • Synthesis of sphingosine a component of sphingolipids required in cell membranes, an anabolic process
  • With Zanthine oxidase enables the catabolism of purine (a nucleic acid) in your liver
  • With aldehyde oxidase enables the conversion of aldehydes to pyridoxic acid
  • With aldehyde oxidase enables the conversion of retinal (vitamin A) to retinoic acid
  • Participates in vitamin B6 metabolism
  • Participates in the synthesis of the active form of folate
  • Participates in the synthesis of niacin from tryptophan
  • Enables the catabolism of choline
  • Involved with monoamine oxidase in the metabolism of neurotransmitters (dopamine)
  • Involved with monoamine oxidase in the metabolism of tyramine (may have a role on the central nervous system in some people) and histamine (involved in local immune responses)
  • With glutathione reductase enables the reduction of glutathione disulphide to glutathione (GSH: an antioxidant)

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

The RDA is the average daily amount of riboflavin considered adequate to meet the needs of most healthy people.
For vitamin B2 it is based on riboflavin’s role in enzyme activity...link to the full article to learn more.

Related Topics

Diet  Health  Food Choices  Nutrients  Vitamins  Your Body 


Gropper, S.S., Smith, J.L. & Groff, J.L. (2005). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (4thEd.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Whitney, E. & Rady Rolfes, S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
Center for Science in the Public Interest (06/2007)