Vitamin E – Tocopherols
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin composed of a group of compounds called tocopherol and tocotrienol compounds that exhibit the biological activity of alpha-tocopherol.
Seven forms exist in nature: Alpha-tocopherol, 100; Beta-tocopherol, 50; Gamma-tocopherol, 10–30; and Delta-tocopherol, 1.
Alpha tocopherols have the greatest biological value
Antioxidant – protects fatty acids against oxidation and helps rid toxic substances from the body.
Vitamin E is absorbed in the intestine in the presence of fat and should be taken with food that contains fat or it may not be absorbed properly.
Vitamin E acts as a diuretic and protects vitamins A and C and increases white blood cells to resist infection.
The female hormone oestrogen is a vitamin E antagonist.
Increased Risk of Deficiency
Consumption refined cereals processed foods
High intakes of poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)
Urban environments, air and water pollution
Newborn infants, and particularly premature infants
Repeated strenuous exercise
Signs and Symptoms of Deficiency
Decreased membrane integrity of red blood cells
Lack of vitality
Gastrointestinal disease – where prolonged deficiency can cause faulty absorption of fat and fat soluble vitamins, which can result in cystic fibrosis, blockage of bile ducts and chronic inflammation of the pancreas
Degeneration of nerve cells
Decreased sexual interest and atrophy of the reproductive organs
May increase risk of cancer, atherosclerosis, arthritis, and cataract
Good Dietary Sources
Tocopherols occur in seeds and nuts. Sunflower seeds, Wheat germ, 1 average sized Sweet potato,
Safflower oil, Shrimp, soybeans
Medical and therapeutic uses
Vitamin E assists reproduction, helps with menstrual problems, thrombosis, varicose veins and sterility. Thins the blood, beneficial for cystitis,