Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): What runners should know about Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2 is essential for the production of ATP --- the energy molecule of running.
Vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin, is a water soluble vitamin of the B-complex. Foods such as eggs and grains are great sources. Grains are the most common source because - at least in the U.S. - grains are fortified with Vitamin Bs.
FUNCTION IN THE BODY:
Like all Vitamin B's, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is involved in the energy production system of the body. Vitamin B2 creates the carrier molecule FAD, which is critical for ATP creation.
HOW IT WORKS:
Mitochondria located in cells are the energy factory of the body that create ATP through cellular respiration. Vitamin B2 is required in the last step of cellular respiration --- Electron Transport Chain --- that creates the bulk of ATP.
The Electron Transport Chain creates an electro-chemical gradient (positive and negative ions on separate sides) --- effectively, cells are making a battery with stored chemical energy. This energy powers the reaction to create the high potential energy molecule ATP. The energy is transferred and stored in the triple phosphate bonds. Breaking these phosphate bonds allows ATP to provide the catalytic energy required for to initiate muscle contractions, chemical reactions, etc. throughout the body.
WHY IT MATTERS FOR RUNNERS:
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is an important vitamin for runners for several reasons:
- ATP Production - Cellular respiration produces ATP which powers the activities required for running, notably muscle contractions. Without sufficient Vitamin B2, the body cannot produce the amount of ATP required to meet the elevated activity demands of runners.
- Efficient Energy – Efficient energy production is important to you as a runner. The better the body can convert carbohydrates and sugar to ATP, the more energy that will be available to you as a runner.
- Oxygen transfer – Riboflavin is also involved in the synthesis of hemoglobin, the molecule that transfers oxygen throughout the body. Oxygen is required by cells to initiate cellular respiration under aerobic conditions.
Best wishes chasing your running goals!
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