Vitamin E – Introduction
Vitamin E consists of a group of eight fat-soluble compounds that cannot be produced by the human body. It is exclusively obtained from the diet, with vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds being the richest sources.
It is a powerful antioxidant that acts at the cellular level and protects against oxidative stress from free radicals. Vitamin E benefits our Immune system and prevents degenerative diseases such as Cancer, Ageing, Arthritis, and Cataracts.
Vitamin E is only synthesized by plants, hence plant-based fatty foods and green leafy vegetables are the primary dietary sources. It is stored inside fat cells in
Different variants of Vitamin E are classified as tocopherols and tocotrienols based on their molecular structure. Out of these alpha-tocopherol has the highest biological activity and is the most abundant form in nature. Additionally, the biological activity of other variants nearly resembles that of alpha-tocopherol. Hence, it is used as a health measure of Vitamin E levels in our bodies.
Important factors for Vitamin E Absorption and Availability
As a fat-soluble Vitamin, Vitamin E requires a fat base to be absorbed and be transported across our body. Vitamin E is absorbed along with other fats from the intestines via chylomicrons (fat globules that transport fatty acids from intestines to different organs via the blood and lymphatic system) in the presence of bile salts. It is transported to liver from where it is released into the blood stream.
Vitamin E requires the presence of other additional nutrients for its absorption from our food. Vitamin E rich foods should be combined with foods and ingredients that contain Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, and Glutathione for optimal assimilation of Vitamin E in our system.
Vitamin E Benefits and Functions
Vitamin E has been primarily studied as an antioxidant. It is located in the membranes of cells, where it exerts its protective action. As an antioxidant, it protects against and assists in the reversal of inflammatory and degenerative diseases.
Vitamin E benefits all functions of the immune system and it is a critical immunity boosting agent. It assists in healthy ageing and prevents against premature
Reduces the risk and growth of Alzheimer disease (AD) – Vitamin E prevents against neuronal cell death due to oxidative stress. It blocks the production of Hydrogen peroxide, which is responsible for
Prevents Platelets Aggregation – Vitamin E promotes the growth of compounds that relax and hence increase blood flow through the vessels. It also captures and stops the growth of compounds that have a platelet aggregation effect. Additionally, mixed tocopherols are more effective for this action as compared with single tocopherol, indicating wholesome food derived Vitamin E sources will do better than alpha-tocopherol supplementation.
Promotes Cardiovascular Health – Vitamin E prevents platelet aggregation and inhibits oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) by free radicals. Both of these actions protect against inflammation and blockage of arteries. It also prevents the biosynthesis of cholesterol by the liver.
Protection against Oxidation by Free Radicals – Oxidation of fats and sugars is the vital metabolic process, which provides us with the required energy from food. Oxidation takes place in each and every body cell. Free radicals are formed during the fat oxidation process and these free radicals harm other cell parts by creating toxins, inducing deformities, and by the complete destruction of cell parts. Vitamin E acts as a first line of defense for our body cells as it can capture and destroy the free radicals. It also stops the damaging oxidative action of free radicals on body cells.
Prevents against Cancer – Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent cancer of multiple body tissues.
- It modulates gene expression and suppresses the growth of tumors and mutant proteins.
- Alpha-tocopherol inhibits the growth of compounds that promote cancer cell growth.
- Delta-tocopherol inhibits the growth of human prostate cancer cells.
- Gamma-tocopherol traps free radicals that lead to mutations and deformations in cells. It also traps and kills the cancerous cells and stops them from growing any further. It has been found to be effective for colon cancer.
- Gamma and Delta tocopherols have been found to be effective against colon, lung,
prostrate, and breast cancers.
Protection of Cell Membranes – Vitamin E enables tighter packaging of fats in cell membranes, hence enhancing the stability of the cells. It also promotes repairing process of plasma cell membranes. Additionally, it is an active agent in generation of new muscle cells.
Vitamin E benefits Immunity – It activates and boosts immune system functions such as
Prevents Cataracts – Sufficient plasma concentration of Vitamin E has been studied to be associated with clarity of eye lens. Vitamin E can prevent the accumulation of oxidised proteins on the eye lens, hence preventing against the risk of Cataracts. It also helps to slow down age-related opacity of the eye lenses.