Picture of Vitamin B2, Riboflavin

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Vitamin B2, Riboflavin structure
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Picture of Vitamin B2, Riboflavin

Vitamins are substances that play an essential part in animal metabolic processes, but which the animals cannot synthesise. In their absence the animal develops certain deficiency diseases or other abnormal conditions. Vitamins are chemicals other than proteins, carbohydrates, fats and mineral salts that are essential constituents of the food of animals. Although certain animals can synthesise certain vitamins and all animals needing vitamin D can manufacture it from ergosterol in the presence of u.v. light, the precise mechanism of action of many vitamins is still poorly understood. Small amounts of vitamins are essential for the regulation of all bodily processes. With the exception of vitamin D, the human body cannot make its own vitamins, and some cannot be stored. Vitamins must therefore be obtained from a food on a daily basis. A person's diet must provide all the necessary vitamins.

Vitamin B2, Riboflavin is found to releases energy from protein, fat and carbohydrate. Riboflavin is the part of the original vitamin B2 complex which stimulates growth of rats.

It is the precursor of flavoproteins, flavin-adenine dinucleotide and flavin mononucleotide.

Good sources of Vitamin B2 are in liver, milk and white of egg, though it occurs widely in nature.

Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for February 1997 )