Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that stops the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) formed when fat undergoes oxidation. Vitamin E exists in 8 different isomers. Some members of the vitamin E family are called tocopherols (alpha tocopherol, beta tocopherol, gamma tocopherol, and delta tocopherol). Other members of are called tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienol). Alpha-tocopherol is the most active form in humans. Hence, it is the form of vitamin E found in the largest quantities in blood and tissues vitamin E supplements are available in synthetic or natural forms. The natural forms are usually labeled with the “d“, synthetic forms are labeled “dl“. Vitamin E supplements are taken as capsules, with a typical dose 400 IU per day. The natural form is more active and better absorbed.
Vitamin E Deficiency
People with fat-malabsorption disorders are more likely to become deficient than people without such disorders. Patients with health problems, such as liver diseases, cystic fibrosis, and Crohn’s disease may need extra vitamin E. Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency; muscle weakness, vision problems, abnormaleye movements, loss of coordination.
Vitamin E Sources in Food
Wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, olive oil, hazelnuts, almonds, eggs, kiwi, mango, spinach,broccoli, tomato, mustard greens, asparagus.
Antioxidants are molecules which can interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. Without adequate levels of antioxidants, these free radicals travel throughout the body, damaging cells. Lab and animal research have shown that antioxidants help prevent the free radical damage that is associated with cancer. While alpha tocopherol inhibits free radical production, gamma tocopherol is required to trap and neutralize existing free radicals. In a test tube study, gamma tocopherol was found to be more effective than alpha tocopherol in protecting against specific types of oxidative damage.
Vitamin E plays a role in your immune system and metabolic processes. Needs vitamin E to help keep the immune system strong against bacteria and viruses. Is also important in the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin E stimulates the production of NK cells (natural killer cells), those that seek out and destroy germs and cancer cells. A study involving healthy people over age 65 has shown that increasing the daily dose of vitamin E from the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 30 mg to 200 mg increased antibody responses to hepatitis B and tetanus after vaccination. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial in nursing home residents reported that daily supplementation with 200 IU of alpha-tocopherol for one year significantly lowered the risk of contracting upper respiratory tract infections, especially the common cold. Taking 200 IU of vitamin E by oral for more than ten years seems to help prevent death from bladder cancer. In one prospective study, increased levels of plasma gamma-tocopherol were associated with a noticeably extent risk of developing prostate cancer. One study of women in Iowa provides evidence that intakes of vitamin E from foods and supplements could decrease the risk of colon cancer, especially in women.
This vitamin supports your vascular health by preventing substances from sticking to blood vessel lining cells and promoting relaxation of your arterial walls. One study of approximately 90,000 nurses found that the incidence of heart disease was 30 to 40 percent lower in those with the highest intakes of vitamin E, primarily from supplements. This study was published in the 1993 New England Journal of Medicine. Among a group of 5,133 Finnish men and women followed for a of 14 years, higher vitamin E intakes from food were associated with decreased mortality from coronary heart disease (CHD). A randomized, placebo -controlled intervention trial in Great Britain found that supplementing heart disease patients with either 400 IU or 800 IU of synthetic alpha-tocopherol for an of 18 months substantially reduced the occurrence of nonfatal heart attacks by 77 %.
Taking vitamin E by oral in combination with beta-carotene, vitamin C and zinc might slow the worsening of advanced age-related macular degeneration. The study showed that a 400 IU/day intake of vitamin E, taken with vitamin C, beta-carotene and zinc supplementation, slows the progression of advanced age-related macular degeneration by 25 % in individuals at high-risk for the disease. Vitamins C and E may also help treat uveitis.
Vitamin E has a protective property on sperm cell and by keeping them from getting damaged, it improves fertility and quality. Several studies have reported positive effects of antioxidants on semen quality. Vitamin E protects against the reactive oxygen species (ROS) mediated damage on spermatozoa. Combined with vitamin C, vitamin E plays role in preventing sperm clumping together, and promoting motility. Vitamin E has been shown to increase the ability of sperm to fertilize an egg in test tubes. Selenium is an essential mineral for normal testicular development, spermatogenesis, and spermatozoa motility and function. “The University of Maryland Medical Center” recommends taking 400IU per day of vitamin E to prevent or treat sexual dysfunction like depressed sex drive that may result from hormonal imbalance. A study published 2011 in the “International Journal of General Medicine” found semen quality improved and sperm motility improved in infertile men who took 400 IU of vitamin E and 200 mcg of selenium daily for 3 months.
Menstrual Cramps and Premenstrual Syndrome
400 IU of Vitamin E (least) daily may help relieve the pain of menstrual cramps. Painful menstruation, affects up to 50% of women but usually menstrual pain does not mean a more serious problem. Taking vitamin E for two days before and for three days after bleeding begins seems to decrease pain severity and duration, and reduce menstrual blood loss. Vitamin E may be help for alleviating menstrual cramps and decreasing blood loss during menstruation, according to the “British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology“. In one study, 100 young women took either 500 IU of vitamin E or placebo for five days . Women who used vitamin E reported less pain than those who took placebo. A cocktail containing vitamin E and essential fatty acids may help reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, Brazilian researchers report in Reproductive Health. The scientists, from the Federal University of Pernambuco, in Brazil, believe the contents of the cocktail make the body less sensitive to prolactin, a hormone blamed for fluid retention and breast tenderness. Too much prolactin or an abnormal response to this hormone may cause premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
Vitamin E Daily Dosage Recommended
Vitamin E is measured as milligrams (mg) of alpha-tocopherol. It also can be measured as International Units (IU). 400 to 800 IU equals 268 to 536 mg. The RDA for vitamin E is just 15 milligrams (about 23 IU) a day. “The National Academy of Sciences” set a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for vitamin E of 1,000mg (or 1,500 IU of vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol). This daily limit is intended to apply to all individuals age 19 and older. A study published in the” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” recommends that at least 20 percent of vitamin E supplement should consist of the gamma tocopherol form.
Vitamin E Side Effects
Alpha-tocopherol high amounts of can inhibit platelet aggregation and antagonize vitamin K-dependent clotting factors. Two clinical trials have found an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke in participants taking Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol). Nausea and gastric distress have been observed in a few patients taking high dosages (2000-2500 IU/d). Diarrhea and intestinal cramps have been reported at a dosage of 3200 IU. Stop using this vitamin at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.