Vitamin E
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What is Vitamin E?

What is Vitamin E? | Vitamin E | Scoop.it

Vitamin E is one of four fat-soluble vitamins necessary for overall health and wellness in the body.

It contains strong antioxidant properties that reduces oxidative damage that harm human tissue, cells and organs.

 

 

 

 

Vitamin E naturally exists in eight chemical forms:

~alpha-tocopherol

~beta-tocopherol

~gamma-tocopherol

~delta-tocopherol

~alpha-tocotrienol

~beta-tocotrienol

~gamma-tocotrienol

~delta-tocotrienol

*Alpha-tocopherol is the only form that meets human requirements and has the greatest nutritional significance.

 

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How Our Body Uses Vitamin E

All of the basic functions of vitamin E in the body begin with the foundation knowledge that it is an antioxidant. Specifically, it protects our tissues and cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. One way this is beneficial to the body is that it plays a key role in the formation of red blood cells. Another benefit is that this fat-soluble vitamin is considered to be the most effective natural lipid-soluble chain-breaking antioxidant. Its influence as an antioxidant is the most prominent with the protection of cell membranes from oxidative damage. Like many vitamins, alpha-tocopherol is interdependent with selenium, meaning that the actions of one will influence the actions of the other. Thus, with a vitamin E deficiency in the body, selenium will compensate by preventing oxidation as well using a different mechanism.

Along with its interdependence on selenium, vitamin E is also influences in the utilization of vitamin K, however in this case it acts as an antagonist in addition to calcium. This means that high levels of vitamin E intake (above 1,000 milligrams) especially in supplementation form, may inhibit the body from absorbing vitamin K, which is needed for aiding in blood clotting. 

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History

Vitamin E was discovered in 1922 by Herbert Evans and K.S. Bishop, but the various effects and the importance of the vitamin had been well documented before that time (University of California, San Francisco [UCSF], 2012). Previously, in 1903 studies by Evans and his assistants found that an unidentified factor in vegetable oils was required for healthy reproduction in female rats. Without this substance, the rats were sterile and lacked the ability to carry and adequately nourish a fetus. In addition, this substance deficiency caused a muscle dystrophy in many species of animals. For almost three decades, investigators were not certain whether this substance had any effect on humans. Researchers soon found out that vitamin E was the missing link in the rat reproduction and muscle dystrophy problem and that it was an essential fat-soluble vitamin. Since this discovery, the importance of vitamin E in the diet has been better understood and applied.

Vitamin E was first called by names such as the “factor X” and “antisterility factor” until Evans suggested adopting the letter E to designate the factor following the already recognized vitamin D. Later in 1936, a vitamin E active compound was isolated from wheat germ oil. Because this compound permitted an animal to have offspring, research groups named the compound alpha-tocopherol from Greek word ‘tocos’, meaning childbirth and ‘ferein’, to bring forth, relating to its essentiality for rats to bear young (UCSF, 2012). To indicate the presence of an OH group in the molecule, ‘ol’ was added to the ending. Its correct structure was given in 1938 and the substance was first synthesized by Paul Karrer, also in 1938. The investigators decided the vitamin's biochemical function was primarily a protective one. When the acids and oxygen do combine, tissues break down and degrade. Vitamin E’s purpose is to help prevent unsaturated fatty acids from combining with oxygen and prevent this degradation. In the 1940s, a team of Canadian physicians discovered that vitamin E could protect people from coronary heart disease and that it had special antioxidant properties (National Institutes of Health [NIH], 2012). These properties enable vitamin E to repair and maintain proper health and longevity in many populations. Lastly in 1968, the Food and Nutrition Boards of the National Academy of Sciences officially recognized vitamin E as an essential nutrient.

 

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How much Vitamin E do you need?

How much Vitamin E do you need? | Vitamin E | Scoop.it

Infants up to 6 months - 4 mg per day

Infants from 7 to 12 months - 5 mg per day

Children aged 1 to 3 years - 6 mg per day

Children aged 4 to 8 years - 7 mg per day

Children aged 9 to 13 years - 11 mg per day

People aged 14 years or more - 15 mg per day

Pregnant women - 15 mg per day

Lactating women - 19 mg per day

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Deficiency/Toxicity

Vitamin E deficiency is very uncommon in developed countries, but when it does occur it is usually due to fat malabsorption. The two main symptoms are hemolytic anemia and neurologic deficits, and can cause fragile red blood cells and neurons to deteriorate. Vitamin E deficiency in premature infants may contribute to retinopathy, intraventricular hemorrhages, and muscle weakness. In children, cystic fibrosis causes neurologic deficits, including loss of deep tendon reflexes, loss of vibration and position senses, muscle weakness, impaired vision, and motor impairment. In adults, vitamin E deficiency very rarely causes spinocerebellar ataxia because adults have large vitamin E stores in adipose tissue. The best way to diagnosis vitamin E deficiency is the measure alpha- tocopherol levels. Vitamin E deficiency is treated with 15 to 25 mg/kg per day of alpha-tocopherol.

 

Toxicity is rare, but the upper limit for individuals 19 and older is 1000mg in a day. Toxicity symptoms are muscle weakness, fatigue, nausea, and diarrhea.

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Function of Vitamin E

Function of Vitamin E | Vitamin E | Scoop.it

Vitamin E has many functions in the human body, including:

-An antioxidant to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, which can ultimately lead to health conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

-Immune function

-Helps the body fight off various viruses and bacteria

-Cell signaling

-Regulation of gene expression

-Metabolic processes

-Helps moderate the performance and production of certain proteins, enzymes, and hormones in the body so that every process runs smoothly and efficiently.

-The formation of red blood cells

-The efficient use of Vitamin K

-The widening of blood vessels to prevent blockages and clots

 

Some experts believe Vitamin E may also help:

-Parkinson's Disease

-Male infertility problems

-Preventing Heart Disease

-Preventing Alzheimer's Disease

-Treating non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

-Protective benefits for patients with diabetes

-Aging

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Sources

Sources | Vitamin E | Scoop.it

Vitamin E can be found in many foods, but nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals and vegetable oils are the best sources.

 

 

Sources of Vitamin E are:

-Spinach

-Sunflower seeds

-Turnip greens

-Chard

-Almonds

-Bell peppers

-Asparagus

-Collard greens

-Kale

-Tomatoes

-Cranberries

-Broccoli

-Brussels sprouts

-Carrots

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Vitamin E: Why you need and where to get it

Many vitamin E supplements do not contain the right forms of this nutrient. Here's how to find a good one and which foods contain this important vitamin.
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Common and Uncommon Uses

Common and Uncommon Uses | Vitamin E | Scoop.it

Common Uses

-Improve skin and hair

-In lotions, creams, and soaps

-Treat premenstrual symptoms

-Treat fibrocystic disease of the breast

-After surgery or injury to decrease scarring and heal wounds (no evidence to support this claim)

 

Uncommon Uses

-Reduce blood pressure

-Relax leg cramps

-Help prevent cataracts

-Reduce age spots

 

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