Riboflavin plays a critical role in protein metabolism and is a key component of the oxidative phosphorylation enzyme system that is intimately involved in the production of cellular energy. Its chemical structure is shown in Figure 7.2.
Riboflavin is primarily absorbed in the proximal small intestine, and uptake is facilitated by bile salts. Transport in the blood is accomplished via attachment to protein complexes (i.e., albumin). Very little riboflavin is stored in the body, and therefore, urinary excretion of metabolites (7- and 8-hydroxymethylflavins; i.e., 7-a-hydroxyriboflavin) reflects dietary intake.
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