Riboflavin Steals Sheep – Book Excerpt of the Week

If you haven’t seen “How To Train Your Dragon”, I’m about to spoil it with riboflavin (vitamin B2). In that movie, wild dragons are stealing the villager’s sheep. One boy discovers the dragons aren’t actually eating the sheep, they’re just dumping them into this giant hole. Turns out, there’s a colossal dragon in the hole, and if we pretend the sheep are hydrogen atoms it’s a great metaphor for the Electron Transport Chain.

The following book excerpt comes from the “What Does It Do” section of the Riboflavin chapter of the Energy Drink Guide:


In the body, there are all these (“redox”) reactions going on where Hydrogen atoms are passed around like the gravy dish at Thanksgiving dinner. This hydrogen passing occurs in fat metabolism (beta-oxidation) and carbohydrate metabolism (the Krebs cycle). In each case, riboflavin’s job is to collect the hydrogen atoms, carry them to a certain spot, and drop them into the Electronic Transport Chain (or “ETC”). When ETC is fed Hydrogen atoms, the result is heaps of metabolic energy.

In a previous book excerpt, we talked about how thiamin would be a leader if the B-vitamins were all Marvel Avengers. If B-vitamins were all superheroes and you were assembling your dream squad for an energy drink, you’d want riboflavin in the mix too. To learn more about riboflavin and the other B-vitamins, stay tuned for next week’s book excerpt as we continue our page-by-page exploration through the Energy Drink Guide.

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