Assessment of status for specific nutrients such as riboflavin is closely bound up with the estimation of requirements in human individuals and groups of subjects, and with the monitoring of human populations for evidence of the adequacy of their intakes. It is often cheaper, easier, and more accurate to collect a sample of blood or urine from an individual and carry out biochemical analyses that determine status than to carry out reliable measurements of intake over a period of time, since the latter requires considerable cooperation from the subject, and is also affected by uncertainties of food table nutrient values, in relation to specific foods and diets.
Biochemical status estimates are generally based upon urinary excretion or measurements of erythro-cyte glutathione reductase (NADPH: oxidized glutathione oxidoreductase EC 126.96.36.199) and its reactivation with flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) in red cell lysates. Other biochemical indices, such as plasma or red cell flavin concentrations, have been less widely used, but their potential is increasing with the advent of new assay techniques such as capillary electrophoresis with highly sensitive laser-induced fluorescence detection. Functional indices directed towards the products of flavin-requiring pathways in vivo are not in common use except for the investigation of errors of metabolism or rare diseases. The two principal traditional status tests are considered below:
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