Vitamin E: Uses, Functions & Benefits

Vitamin E, a fat soluble vitamin is absorbed through the intestinal tract via lipids. It has beneficial antioxidant properties which protects the cells from damage. Being a fat soluble vitamin, it is stored in the body and used whenever it is needed. It is available through various dietary sources as well as in the form of dietary supplements.

Vitamin E refers to a group of eight different compounds which have their own distinctive properties. These include alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol. Among all these forms of Vitamin E, Alpha-tocopherol is the most active one.

Functions

  • Acts as an antioxidant. This property helps in providing protection from cell damage which is related to aging process. It prevents formation of free radicals that can damage cells, tissues, and organs.
  • Provides protection against viral and bacterial infection. Therefore, promotes the immunity.
  • Helps in synthesis of red blood cells.
  • It maintains the blood flow inside blood vessels and prevents clotting of blood.
  • Vitamin E plays an important role in cellular interaction.

Research has also demonstrated the importance of vitamin E in prevention of certain diseases such as heart disease, liver disease, dementia and stroke. However, it requires further research to demonstrate the association.

Vitamin E is beneficial as it reduces damaging effects of free radicals among individuals that are exposed to high air pollution, cigarette smoking and have excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from sunlight

It is readily available in many foods including eggs, fruits, vegetables, cereals, meat, poultry and wheat germ oil. There are 2 main types of vitamin E that are available in the supplements form. d-alpha-tocopherol which is naturally available and dl-alpha-tocopherol which is the synthetic form.

Dietary Source

Recommended dosage (RDA)

The recommended daily amount of vitamin E for adults is 15 milligrams per day.

Deficiency

Vitamin E deficiency is quite rare as the demand is fulfilled through dietary sources. Premature babies who are underweight might be deficient in vitamin E. People who have fat-malabsorption disorders and who are unable to absorb fat adequately have higher risk of Vitamin E deficiency.

There are few rare inherited disorders where the deficiency is seen including abetalipoproteinemia, and Ataxia and vitamin E deficiency (AVED).

Signs and Symptoms

Deficiency symptoms include immune response impairment, peripheral neuropathy, ataxia, retinopathy and skeletal myopathy.

Interactions with Medications

Vitamin E supplements have shown interactions with several types of medications. These drugs include chemotherapeutics, anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications, Simvastatin and niacin. It is also good to consult your physician before you start these medications on a regular basis. 

Overview

Vitamin E is an essential vitamin necessary for promoting health and disease prevention. It has several key functions that boosts the immunity and develop overall strength. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and platelet aggregation inhibitory properties that makes it one of the best immune enhancer.

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