Riboflavin intake and status and relationship to anemia

Abeer M. Aljaadi, Angela M. Devlin, Tim J. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Riboflavin in its coenzyme forms, flavin mononucleotide and flavin adenine dinucleotide, is essential for multiple redox reactions necessary for energy production, antioxidant protection, and metabolism of other B vitamins, such as niacin, pyridoxine, and folate. Erythrocyte glutathione reductase activity coefficient (EGRac) is a biomarker of riboflavin status; ratios ≥1.40 are commonly interpreted as indicating biochemical deficiency. Most research on riboflavin status comes from low-income countries and rural settings, which reported high rates of riboflavin deficiency and inadequate intake. However, some studies suggest that riboflavin deficiency, based on the functional indicator EGRac, is also of concern in middle- and high-income countries. Biochemical riboflavin deficiency that does not cause clinical symptoms may contribute to anemia, particularly among women and children. Riboflavin enhances iron absorption, and riboflavin deficiency decreases iron mobilization from stores. The current knowledge on riboflavin's role in metabolic processes and its biochemical status is summarized in this review, and the available evidence on the role of riboflavin in anemia among different populations is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-132
Number of pages19
JournalNutrition Reviews
Issue number1
Early online date26 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • anemia
  • EGRac
  • erythrocyte glutathione reductase activity coefficient
  • hemoglobin
  • riboflavin deficiency
  • vitamin B


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