Important Information on Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an umbrella term for eight naturally occurring nutrients, each of which is a fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E's potent antioxidant properties protect your body's cells, helps your body make red blood cells, and supports the use of vitamin K by your body. Vitamin E is found in many oils, fats and foods.
Vitamin E deficiency is rare, and has not been found in otherwise healthy individuals who get lesser amounts of this vitamin from their diets. It is, however, a risk in premature babies of low birth weight.
What are the signs of vitamin E deficiency?
The warning signs of severe vitamin E deficiency include vision problems, abnormal eye movements, muscle weakness and a feeling of unsteadiness on your feet. Long-term deficiency can lead to kidney and liver problems.
How is vitamin E beneficial for your body?
Besides offering protection against free radical damage, vitamin E offers a number of protective effects :
Several population studies have found that individuals with higher levels of vitamin E are at a lower risk of developing heart disease. However, more research is required in this area to reach a full and final conclusion.
In combination with other antioxidants, vitamin E safeguards against macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in people over 55.
The vitamin helps in slowing down the body's aging process.
It is a natural diuretic.
Vitamin E helps keep your skin cells hydrated and healthy; it is often used in the treatment of skin inflammation.
There is some evidence to suggest that vitamin E and vitamin C can together help prevent pre-eclampsia in at-risk women.
What are the sources of vitamin E?
Dietary intake of fat-soluble vitamin E is expressed in International Units (IU), where 1.5 IU equals 1 mg of the vitamin. Children need about 16.4 IU of the vitamin while adults and pregnant women require 22.4 IU.
Wheat germ and green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin E. Just two tablespoons of wheatgerm can provide 15 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin E.
High fat foods like fatty fish, seeds, nuts and extracted oils are also good sources of vitamin E. Oil-rich plants such as avocado and olives also provide a decent fix. Vitamin E-rich seafood includes sardines, shrimp, cod and salmon.
Vitamin E supplements are available in natural and synthetic forms. It is best to consult your doctor before taking them, as they can increase risk of bleeding if you are on blood thinners.
In summary :
Vitamin E deficiency is quite rare, but a risk in low weight babies
It is a powerful antioxidant that protects against cell damage and macular degeneration.
Both natural dietary sources and synthetic supplements can be used for vitamin E nourishment.