February 11, 2014

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects body tissue from damage caused by substances called free radicals. Free radicals can harm cells, tissues, and organs. They are believed to play a role in certain conditions related to aging.

Functions of Vitamin E

  • Reduced Risk of Heart Disease - Vitamin E is thought to help prevent heart disease by inhibiting oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and helping to prevent blood clots which could lead to a heart attack.
  • Reduced Cancer Risk (*Controversial) - Vitamin E may help reduce cancer risk by acting as an antioxidant and by preventing formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines formed in the stomach from nitrites in foods.
  • Promoted Eye Health (Prevention from Macular Degeneration) (*Controversial) - At least one study has shown intake of the DV for vitamin E reduces risk of age related eye damage (macular degeneration) by 20%.
  • Alleviation of Chronic Inflammation - Preliminary studies show that vitamin E can help mediate the inflammatory response, and may help those with type II diabetes, or chronic heart failure, who suffer from chronic inflammation.
  • Reduced Risk of Dementia (Cognitive Decline) (*Controversial) - Preliminary findings have shown increased levels of vitamin E to have a protective effect on mental functioning as people age. Further studies need to be conducted to confirm this finding.16
  • Reduced Risk of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's Disease) (*Controversial) - A long range study found that increased intake of Vitamin E over 5 years could reduce risk of ALS. Further studies are needed as the sample size was small

Rich Sources

  • Sunflower Seeds (222% DV per 100g)
  • Paprika and Red Chilli Powder (199% DV per 100g)
  • Almonds
  • Pine Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Dried Herbs – Oregano and Basil
  • Dried Apricots
  • Pickled Green Olives
  • Cooked Spinach
  • Cooked Taro Root
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Flax seed Oil (85% DV per 100g)
  • Hazelnut
  • Broccoli
  • Soybean Oil (40% DV per 100g)
  • Pistachios
  • Pecans and Bell Peppers
  • Kiwis
  • Mango
  • Tomato
  • Asparagus
  • Butternut Squash
  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Cold-pressed vegetable oils, including olive, corn, safflower, soybean, cottonseed and canola
  • Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach
  • Beet, collard, mustard, turnip
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Avocado
  • Yam

Recommended Daily Intakes
  • Older than 18 years: 22.4 IU
  • Pregnant females: 22.4 IU
  • Breast-feeding females: 28.4 IU

Vitamin E deficiency may occur in two situations: in premature, low birth weight babies and in people who cannot absorb or metabolize fat normally such as people with people with Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, or those who have abetalipoproteinemia  (a disorder which causes poor absorption of dietary fat).
A deficiency of vitamin E can ultimately lead to nervous system problems and damage to nerves. This can result in impaired reflexes, weakness of the muscles, poor balance, and and an inability to coordinate voluntary movements. Vitamin E deficiency may also be a contributing factor to heart disease, including atherosclerosis, and an increased risk of developing some types of cancer.

  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Vision problems
  • Unsteady walking
Excess Vitamin E Symptoms
  • Bleeding – Excess vitamin E intake can increase your risk of bleeding as it enhances vasodilation and inhibits blood clotting.
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue 
  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhoea
Prone to Deficiency Occurs
  • Alcoholics
  • People suffering from chronic wasting illness
  • Vitamin E deficiency is also a common condition in people who have inadequacy in their nutritional diets and those who have ailments such as liver, pancreatic or gallbladder diseases.
The dosage at which vitamin E can cause toxicity is 1000 mg a day, which is 1500 IU aday for natural vitamin E, or 1000 IU a day of synthetic vitamin E. Some side effects have been reported related to large doses of vitamin E (more than 2000 IU), including tiredness, digestive problems, nausea, and headaches.
Dosages of more than 800 IU per day of vitamin E may disrupt the body's blood clotting ability, which could affect people who take blood thinners (anticoagulants)

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