Vitamin E

almondsVitamin E is one of the 4 fat-soluble vitamins along with A, D, and K.  Vitamin E comes in many forms with 4 tocopherols (alpha-tocopherol being the main biologically active one in humans), and 4 cotrienols that seem to have little activity in humans. 

The main function of alpha-tocopherol is as an anti-oxidant, intercepting free radicals and protecting fats and low density lipoproteins (LDL’s) from oxidation. When alpha-tocopherol neutralizes a free radical, it’s anti-oxidant capacity is regenerated by vitamin C. Vitamin E seems to directly control inflammation, red and white blood cell production, connective tissue growth, cell division, and can convert arachadonic acid free radicals to less harmful derivatives  and reducing inflammatory cytokines.  Most chronic diseases have an inflammatory component, hence the importance of adequate vitamin E. 

 

SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY

Severe deficiency can present with neurological symptoms like impaired balance and coordination and muscle weakness.  Most symptoms are chronic in nature and related to the damage by free radicals and oxidative stress:
– Heart disease, arteriosclerosis and strokes
– Cancer 
– Cataracts
– Reduced immune function
– Dementia and Alzheimer’s
– Complications of diabetes
– Possible role in fibrocystic breast disease, menopause symptoms, tardive dyskinesia, Parkinson’s and arthritis. 

 

FOOD SOURCES

                               alpha-tocopherol
Almonds  (1 oz)           12.8 mg           
Hazelnuts (1oz)            6.1  mg
Peanuts (1oz)               3.2  mg
Sunflower oil (Tbs)       6.6  mg
Safflower oil (Tbs)        4.6  mg
Canola oil (Tbs)            2.9  mg
Other oils (Tbs)            1-2 mg
Avocado                       3.3 mg 
Spinach (1/2 cup raw) 1.7 mg

 

SAFETY AND TOXICITY

Few side effects have been noted in adults. The major concern is an increased likelihood of hemorrhage at doses exceeding 1000 IU daily.  

Tolerable Upper Limits
Infants                          unknown (100 IU daily)
Children                       200-600 IU daily
Teens/adults                1000 IU daily

 

The Role of Vitamin E in Human Health and Some Diseases

 

The Vitamin E Fact Sheet
 

Dr. Paul

 

 

 

 

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