Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a strong anti-oxidant that prevents our body from the damaging effects of the free radicals. Free radicals are harmful for our body and may lead to development of heart problems and cancer. Vitamin E also helps to enhance the immunity of the body.

Vitamin E is not just a single nutrient required by our body for performing different functions but is a group of different nutrients that are soluble in fat and perform various functions. The members of vitamin E group are called as tocopherols. There are main four different types of tocopherols: alpha tocopherol, beta tocopherol, gamma tocopherol and delta tocopherol. Alpha tocopherol is the most abundant type of vitamin E which is found in blood and tissues.  There are other nutrients as well that belong to this group and are called as tocotrienols. These are also present in four different forms: Alpha tocotrienol, beta tocotrienol, gamma tocotrienol and delta tocorienol.

Functions of vitamin E

Prevent oxidative stress
Human beings need oxygen to remain alive. When excess of oxygen is present in our body cells, then the molecules of oxygen become highly reactive and start damaging the cells present around them. This particular situation is called as oxidative stress. Vitamin E prevents oxidative stress as it does not allow oxygen molecules to become more reactive. Other nutrients such as vitamin C, selenium and vitamin B3 also take part in this process along with vitamin E.

Gives healthy skin
Vitamin E is an essential nutrient that helps to prevent skin from harmful ultra violet radiations of the sun.  Many research studies have been done and it is found that vitamin when applied externally over the skin helps to prevent damage produced by the ultraviolet radiations of the sun. When diet rich in vitamin E is eaten it promotes healthy and glowing skin.

Protect bladder cancer
A research was presented by the American association of cancer research centre in which it was stated that bladder cancer can be reduced by adding vitamin E rich foods in the diet. In another research study it was found that alpha-tocopherol was responsible for preventing the risk of bladder cancer as compare to other forms of vitamin E. Another research study was published in the health magazine proceedings of the national academy of sciences which stated that gamma tocopherol is responsible for inhibiting the prostate cancer.

Prevent coronary heart disease
Vitamin E is known to prevent coronary heart disease and this fact is derived from many researches and studies done by different scientists. Vitamin E prevents clotting of the blood which may be the main factor responsible for causing heart problems.

Prevents eye disorders
Older people suffer from vision problems and two most common eye diseases that lead to loss of vision in old people are macular degeneration and cataract. Little research is available for this function of vitamin E but it can be used to prevent these two conditions. Several studies have shown a relationship in the prevention of cataract and intake of vitamin E supplements.

Prevents cognitive abnormalities
It is found by some researchers that intake of anti-oxidants such as vitamin E can prevent cognitive abnormalities such as Alzheimer’s disease and loss of memory. It is based on the fact that neuron damage may be caused by free radicals and when intake of vitamin is increased it prevents damage of neuron cells.

Food sources
The food sources that are rich in vitamin E include Almonds, avocados, cod liver oil, corn oil, papaya, sweet potato, walnuts, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, margarine, mangoes, cotton seed oil, broccoli, etc.

Recommended dosage
·        The recommended dosages for vitamin E for different age groups are:
·        Children between one to three years: 6 mg per day
·        Children between four to eight years: 7 mg per day
·        Children between nine to thirteen years: 11 mg per day
·        People aged fourteen years or more: 15 mg per day

Drug interactions
Vitamin E supplements interact with certain medications. If you take below mentioned medicines then you should consult your physician for the recommended dosage of vitamin E.  Vitamin E may interact with other nutrient supplements such as vitamin C, and can increase the level of low density lipoproteins. It may interact with drugs such as simvastatin and niacin that are taken for heart functioning. Cancer patients are recommended to avoid anti-oxidant supplements as they may reduce the effect of chemotherapy.

Always consult your health care provider before starting a supplement therapy