Vitamin E - tocopherol
Vitamin E has earned itself a reputation - from spicing up your sex life to banning wrinkles and old age. One of the most important functions of this vitamin is its antioxidant properties. Vitamin E is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that includes eight naturally occurring compounds in two classes designated as tocopherols and tocotrienols.
Vitamin E is an effective chain-breaking, lipid-soluble antioxidant in biological membranes, and aids in membrane stability.
Vitamin E is required for
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, protects your cells from oxidation, and neutralizes unstable free radicals, which can cause damage. This is done by the vitamin E giving up one of its electrons to the electron deficient free radical, making it more stable. While Vitamin E performs its antioxidant functions, it also protects the other antioxidants from being oxidized.
This antioxidant capability is then also great in helping to prevent degenerative diseases - including heart disease, strokes, arthritis, senility, diabetes and cancer. It also assists in fighting heart disease and cancers and is essential for red blood cells, helps with cellular respiration and protects the body from pollution - especially the lungs. Vitamin E is also useful in preventing blood clots from forming and promotes fertility, reduces and/or prevents hot flushes in menopause. An increase in stamina and endurance is also attributed to Vitamin E.
Vitamin E is also used topically to great effect for skin treatments - in helping the skin look younger, promoting healing and cutting down the risk of scar tissue forming. Used on the skin it is also reported to help with eczema, skin ulcers cold sores and shingles.
Deficiency of vitamin E
Deficiency of Vitamin E is not common, and the symptoms not very clear cut, but may include fatigue, inflamed varicose veins, wounds healing slowly, premature aging and sub-fertility. When Vitamin E is in short supply symptoms may include acne, anemia, muscle disease, dementia, cancers, gallstones, shortened red blood cell life span, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), and uterine degeneration.
The dosage underneath is the (RDA), but be aware that this dosage is the minimum that you require per day, to ward off serious deficiency of this particular nutrient. In the therapeutic use of this nutrient, the dosage is usually increased considerably, but the toxicity level must be kept in mind.
Males 300 iu (10 mg) per day and females 8 mg per day
Toxicity and symptoms of high intake
Toxicity is not easily reached. High intakes may induce diarrhea, nausea or abdominal wind. People on anticoagulant medication should not take more than 1,200 iu per day.
Best used with
Take Vitamin E with the range of antioxidants - that being vitamin C, beta-carotene and selenium. Vitamin B group vitamins as well as inositol and manganese is also indicated.
When more may be required
When your diet is high in refined carbohydrates, fried foods and fat, or you are taking a birth control pill or hormone replacement therapy, then a supplement of Vitamin E might be called for. People suffering from pre-menstrual cramps, menopausal hot flushes, after a stroke or suffering from a heart disease might benefit from Vitamin E. It might also be beneficial to relieve painful or swollen joints, if you are exposed to pollution (that is about all of us), suffer from poor circulation or from Dupuytren's disease, which is a thickening of the ligaments in the hands.
Enemy of vitamin E
Vitamin E is lost in food processing which includes milling, cooking, freezing, long storage periods and when exposed to air.
Vitamin E should not be taken together with inorganic iron supplements as it may destroy the vitamin, while organic iron, such as ferrous gluconate and ferrous fumarate does not affect the vitamin.
Other interesting points
When buying a supplement you often see "d-alpha-tocopherol" on the list of ingredients - that means that the Vitamin E is from natural sources, whereas "dl-alpha-tocopherol" will indicate that it is from synthetic origin. As such the origin of the vitamin does not influence the efficiency thereof.
Food sources of vitamin E
Vitamin E is found in nuts, oils, vegetables, sunflower seeds, whole grains, spinach, oils, seeds, wheat oils, asparagus, avocado, beef, seafood, apples, carrots, celery etc .