Written by ASIAMED CONNECT & APOLLO HOSPITALS
Vitamin E refers to a group of fat soluble compounds with strong antioxidant properties. An antioxidant is a substance that reduces oxidative damage, damage caused by oxygen which can harm human tissue, cells and organs.
Vitamin E exists in eight different isomers (forms), four tocopherols and four tocotrienols:
· Alpha-tocopherol - found in the largest quantities in human blood and tissues. This is the only form actively maintained in the human body. This form of vitamin E has the greatest nutritional significance. Most dosing and daily allowance recommendations for this vitamin are given in ATE (Alpha-Tocopherol Equivalents). Alpha tocopherol can be found most abundantly in sunflower oil, safflower oil, and wheat germ oil. As a food additive, it has E number E308.
· Beta-tocopherol - a natural tocopherol with less antioxidant activity than alpha-tocopherol.
· Gamma tocopherol - It can be found in corn oil, soybean oil, margarine and dressings. Gamma tocopherol may be important to human health, according to recent studies, as it is well absorbed in human tissue. As a food additive, it has E number E308.
· Delta-tocopherol - It is found in lower concentrations than alpha-tocopherol. As a food additive, it has E number E309.
· Alpha-tocotrienol - the most abundant form of vitamin E in palm oil
· Gamma-tocotrienol - a rare form of vitamin E.
Health benefits of Vitamin E
· Prevents some skin conditions
· Helps prevent Parkinson's disease
· Helping males with infertility problems
· Preventing heart disease
· Preventing Alzheimer's disease in advanced age
· May help lower the risk of (COPD) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by about 10 percent in both smokers and non-smokers
· Some patients with diabetes may enjoy protective benefits
· A pre-cursor of vitamin E may protect against a type of breast cancer
· Prostate cancer prevention and preventing recurrence of prostate cancer. Some studies have demonstrated benefits, while others have not.
· Enhancing the immune system of elders
· May extend the life-span of restricted groups of men
· It is effective in treating non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, an obesity-associated chronic liver disease
How much vitamin E should I consume?
According to the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board, USA, the following are recommended as daily intakes of vitamin E:
· 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
The following foods are rich in vitamin E:
· Blue crab
· Brazil Nuts
· Cod liver oil
· Corn oil
· Cottonseed oil
· Egg Yolks
· Green leafy vegetables, like lettuce, spinach, turnip, beet, collard, and dandelion greens
· Peanut oil
· Pine nuts
· Rapeseed oil
· Safflower oils
· Soya bean oil
· Sunflower oil
· Sweet Potato
· Tomato products
· Wheat germ oil
Vitamin E deficiency
Those with an insufficient amount of Vitamin E rich foods can have symptoms of vitamin E deficiency. The human digestive tract needs fat to absorb vitamin E. Those with fat-malabsorption disorder have a higher risk of becoming vitamin E deficient. Premature babies of low birth weight may lack vitamin E and require supplementation to prevent complications.
Deficiency can sometimes lead to peripheral neuropathy, impairment of the immune response, retinopathy, skeletal myopathy, or ataxia. Vitamin E supplements may sometimes interact with certain medications. Ask your doctor or a qualified pharmacist if you are not sure.