Eight types of compounds, four tocopherols and four tocotrienols, clustered in a single group is all about Vitamin E. Initially assumed as a single entity and termed as tocopherol for its essential role in fertility, Vitamin E is now, scientifically established to have manifold biological activity. Of all the vitamin E types, gamma-tocopherol is the most common dietary form and alpha-tocopherol is the most active biologically (Reboul et al, 2006).
Wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, almonds, peanuts, spinach, pumpkin, asparagus, mango, and avocado are abundant sources of Vitamin E. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E for those older than fourteen years of age is 15 mg a day equivalent to 22 international units. The RDA holds good for men and women, including those in their pregnancy. A daily dose of 19 mg equivalent to 28 international units is the RDA for lactating mothers.
Reduced fecundity, and fertility, retinal damage, an affliction of the peripheral nerves, loss of control over body movements, muscular weakness, and diminished immune function are some of the common symptoms of E deficiency (Hercberg et al, 2004).
Vitamin E -a Known Antioxidant
Vitamin E is capable of penetration into biological membranes and an excellent fat-soluble antioxidant, protecting cell membranes from reactive free radicals. The ‘’chromane double ring’’ present in all the types of Vitamin E discussed, can reduce free radicals in the cell.
Vitamin E and Cardiovascular Health
Research studies have documented a twenty to forty percent reduction in cardiovascular adverse events in those on vitamin E supplementation for at least two years (Rimm et al, 2000). Clinical trials have shown a twenty four percent reduction in cardiovascular risks amongst women on Vitamin E supplementation (Lee et al, 2005).
The reduction has been shown to be up to twenty six percent among those beyond sixty-five years of age or more, with decreased events of vascular blood clots (Glynn et al, 2007).
Vitamin E in Cancer Prevention
A few observational studies and clinical trials have indicated a reduced risk of advanced prostate cancer in a cohort of smokers with Vitamin E supplements (Chan et al, 1999).
Vitamin E in Geriatric Health
A six-year clinical study has established that vitamin E, in combination with vitamin C, beta carotene, and zinc, can reduce the incidence of AMD (Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration) (ARED, 2001 and 2007).
Vitamin E supplementation has been shown to reduce risk of the onset of Sporadic Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative neuromuscular disease that results in the progressive loss of motor neurons that control voluntary muscles (Kerman et al, 2011). A recent collective analysis of multiple studies on ALS with more than 1 million participants has shown that the longer the use of vitamin E supplements, lower the risk of onset of ALS (Ascherio et al, 2005). Though clinical trials of vitamin E supplements in the ALS afflicted cohort have not shown any cure, Vitamin E has proven beneficial in delaying the onset of age-related ALS (Wang et al, 2011).
Research studies in 2005 have concluded that diets higher in vitamin E content lowers the risk of developing Parkinson's Disease also known as the ‘’older person's disease’’ a common neuro-degenerative disease diagnosed in people over age sixty (Etminan et al, 2005).
Vitamin E for Liver Diseases
Alpha-tocopherol has been shown to be effective in the treatment of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), especially the severe extreme type of the disease known as Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH). Controlled clinical trials, have also established the physiological role of vitamin E in the reduction of abnormal levels of liver enzymes, abnormal retention of fat in cells, inflammation, and fibrotic scarring in tissues (Sato et al, 2015).
Vitamin E in Pregnancy
Alpha-tocopherol intake has been recommended to be effectual for reducing risk of stillbirth, neonatal death, preterm birth, preeclampsia, and other pregnancy complications (Rumbold et al, 2015).
Vitamin E and Wound Healing
Tocopheryl acetate has been in use as a topical medicine, for wound healing and scar reduction (Panin et al, 2004).
Alpha-tocopherol has known interactions with drugs like aspirin, warfarin, tamoxifen, and cyclosporine A. Clinical trials have demonstrated a reduction in blood concentration of the anti-breast cancer drug tamoxifen at 400 mg/day dose of Vitamin E (Podszun et al 2014). Hence, it is good to take the recommendations of a health care provider to decide upon the correct daily dose of Vitamin E.
This Article was written by one of our Guest bloggers Professor B.V. Ramanan Consultant Microbiologist.
This article is not intended to Diagnose or treat any disease or illness, If you are having health concerns please speak with your Doctor.
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