|Vitamin :: Vitamin E|
|Other Terms:||Tocopherol | Tocotrienols|
|Solubility:||Fat-soluble, which means it needs to be taken with fats to be absorbed in the digestive system. It is stored by the body in the liver.|
|On this Page:||What is Vitamin E · Benefits · Deficiency Signs · Foods · Supplements · RDA · Toxicity | Overdose|
It is an essential nutrient of which there are 8 different forms that include alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherols and tocotrienols. Each has its own biological activity, which measures how potent it is.
The most active form for humans is alpha-tocopherol (α-tocopherol), but to get the full protective effects of vitamin E, it helps to include some of the other forms, especially gamma-tocopherol.
Harmful by-products known as free radicals are released when the body converts food to energy, or when it fights off infections, stress, and pollutants such as cigarette smoke.
Free radicals that build up in our bodies over time cause oxidative stress to cells and damage them, accelerating the aging process and contributing to the development of a number of diseases.
Vitamin E is one of the antioxidant vitamins that help protect cells against those free radicals, by neutralizing them. Studies show that vitamin E promotes DNA repair and immune activity, and may prevent or delay those diseases.
Vitamin E benefits the body in many ways as it plays a role in treatment and/or prevention of many health conditions.
|::||Vitamin E Benefits & Functions|
|1.||powerful antioxidant that neutralizes the free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage|
|2.||antioxidant function helps to delay the onset of degenerative diseases|
|3.||natural vitamin E, working in synergy with the other antioxidants like vitamins A and C, helps protect against certain forms of cancer such as mouth, throat, breast, lung, bladder, prostate, cervical and colon cancer|
|4.||slows cellular aging due to oxidation (anti-aging)|
|5.||boosts the body’s immune system ability to fight off infectious diseases|
|6.||works in synergy with vitamin A to protect lungs from pollution|
|7.||works with vitamin C to protect skin from ultraviolet radiation and sun damage, and inhibit melanoma (skin cancer) growth|
|8.||studies indicate that, in conjunction with vitamin C and beta-carotene, may delay progression or lower risk of cataracts or age-related macular degeneration (AMD) of the eyes|
|9.||studies show that natural vitamin E helps to delay cognitive decline and progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers disease possibly due to its antioxidant effects|
|10.||helps protect against atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) and heart attacks, by preventing the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol that causes build-up of fatty deposits in artery walls|
|11.||important for red blood cell formation|
|12.||important for the reproductive system and fertility|
Vitamin E Deficiency Symptoms and Causes
As many as 70 to 80% of older adults may not get even the minimum RDA of 15 mg per day. However outright deficiency israre.
Most cases of deficiency are due to digestive system problems that cause food to be poorly absorbed. These problems can include celiac disease, and inflammatory or irritable bowel disorders.
Fat-malabsorption disorders that hinder proper absorption of fat, such as cystic fibrosis, can also lead to low vitamin E levels, as the digestive tract needs fat to take vitamin E in.
The possible vitamin E deficiency symptoms are summarized here.
|::||Vitamin E Deficiency Symptoms|
|1.||loss of appetite|
|3.||anemia due to loss of red blood cells from oxidative damage|
|4.||impaired immune system leading to susceptibility to infections|
|5.||eye problems such as cataracts, or retinopathy (degeneration of the retina of the eye) that can lead to loss of vision|
|6.||angina (severe chest pains) in males|
|7.||skeletal myopathy (disease of muscles connected to bones) that results in weakness in the muscles and limbs, and sometimes muscle cramps, stiffness or spasms|
|8.||peripheral neuropathy (damage to nerves of the peripheral nervous system) typically characterized by numbness and tingling or burning sensations in the arms, legs, hands or feet|
|9.||ataxia (lack of muscle coordination) due to nervous system dysfunction that can affect speech, swallowing and movement, and cause jerkiness, clumsiness, inaccuracy or instability|
|10.||studies indicate that low vitamin E levels are linked to digestive tract problems (such as gallbladder, liver, pancreatic or celiac diseases) that result in malabsorption, where nutrients from food are poorly absorbed|
|11.||reproductive system problems such as decreased fertility, spontaneous abortions (miscarriages), and uterine or testicular deterioration|
Vitamin E Foods
Vitamin E requirements are listed in mg (milligrams). But vitamin E content is typically measured on food labels in IU (International Units). To convert IU to mg, divide by 1.5 (one mg of vitamin E roughly translates to 1.5 IU).
Rich vitamin E foods
· cold-pressed vegetable oils (such as sunflower, soybean, safflower) · wheat germ oil · dark green leafy vegetables such as chard, mustard greens, spinach, turnip greens.
Other vitamin E sources
· avocadoes · blueberries · brown rice · dried beans · egg yolk · kiwifruit · legumes · nuts and seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, macadamia, hazelnuts, peanuts) · oatmeal · organ meats like liver · olives · papaya · soybeans · sweet potatoes · vegetables like asparagus, bell pepper, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale, parsley, tomato · wheat germ · whole grains and whole grain products.
Vitamin E Supplements
Taking vitamins and minerals in their correct balance is vital to the proper functioning of all vitamins. They work synergistically, which means that the effectiveness of any one nutrient requires or is enhanced, sometimes dramatically, by the presence of certain other nutrients.
For this reason, if you are looking to take supplements for maintenance of optimal health, the recommended approach is to take a multi-vitamin that has the proper balance of all the necessary nutrients your body needs.
For a list of reputable top ranked vitamin and mineral supplements chosen in an independent supplement review, see Best Multivitamin Supplements. Many of these are manufactured to pharmaceutical or nutraceutical GMP compliance, which is the highest multivitamin standard possible.
Keep in mind, however, that while vitamin supplements are useful to plug nutritional gaps that are almost inevitable in modern diets, and to ensure we get optimal doses ofnutrients, they are no substitute for a good diet. Instead, use them to complement a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Vitamin E RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance)
The Food & Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, in their 1997-2001 collaboration between the US and Canada, set the daily Adequate Intake (AI) of Vitamin E as follows.
|Life Stage | Gender||Vitamin E Dosage | Day|
|Infants 0-6 mths||4* mg|
|Infants 7-12 mths||5* mg|
|Children 1-3 yrs||6 mg|
|Children 4-8 yrs||7 mg|
|Girls 9-13 Yrs||11 mg|
|Boys 9-13 Yrs||11 mg|
|Females 14-18 Yrs||15 mg|
|Males 14-18 Yrs||15 mg|
|Females 19-50 Yrs||15 mg|
|Males 19-50 Yrs||15 mg|
|Females older than 50 Yrs||15 mg|
|Males older than 50 Yrs||15 mg|
|Pregnant Women 14-18 Yrs||15 mg|
|Pregnant Women 19-50 Yrs||15 mg|
|Lactating Mothers 14-18 Yrs||19 mg|
|Lactating Mothers 19-50 Yrs||19 mg|
These dosages are the minimum required per day to ward off deficiency. In therapeutic use of this nutrient, dosage is increased as necessary for the ailment, keeping in mind Vitamin E toxicity levels.
1 µg = 1 mcg = 1 microgram = 1/1,000,000 of a gram
1 mg = 1 milligram = 1/1,000 of a gram
* Indicates AI figures based on Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) figures
Vitamin E Overdose Symptoms, Toxicity Level & Side Effects
There are few reported cases of vitamin E overdose from food alone, or from supplement intake below 2000 IU.
Vitamin E overdose symptoms have sometimes been seen for doses above 2000 IU. These include stomach upset, intestinal cramps, double vision, and muscle weakness. People with rheumatic heart disease, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism should avoid high doses.
Vitamin E may help to lower blood pressure, but people with high blood pressure should start with a small dose and increase it slowly.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has set Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for vitamin E. These are the highest average daily intake levels above which there is risk of vitamin E toxicity.
|Life Stage||Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL) per Day|
|0 to 12 months||*ND|
|1 to 3 years||200 mg (300 IU)|
|4 to 8 years||300 mg (450 IU)|
|9 to 13 years||600 mg (900 IU)|
|14 to 18 years**||800 mg (1200 IU)|
|19 years & above**||1000 mg (1500 IU)|
*ND : Not determinable. Intake should be from food/milk only.
**Includes pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Note: These ULs apply to supplementalalpha-tocopherol (α-tocopherol) obtained from supplements and fortified foods.
Some clinical trials indicate that doses of vitamin E above 400 IU per day may increase mortality rate slightly in older people with existing medical conditions. However these findings are rather controversial and conflict with other evidence. Some studies use the synthetic form of vitamin E, which is only about 5 to 20% as effective as natural vitamin E, and has even been found to block absorption of natural vitamin E in food.
The low doses found in typical multi-vitamins are considered safe.
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|1.||Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary reference intakes for vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2000.|
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