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04May

NUTRIENTS A-Z: Vitamin E

Naturally occurring vitamin E includes eight fat-soluble isoforms, but the body prefers the form called alpha-tocopherol.  Furthermore, alpha-tocopherol is the only form of supplementation that can reverse vitamin E deficiency symptoms.

Alpha-tocopherol functions as an antioxidant, preventing the propagation of free radicals and is involved in strengthening the immune system.  Other antioxidants, like vitamin C, increase its potency due to synergy where the sum of the total is more than the sum of the parts.

Food sources include sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, olive and canola oils, tomato, avocado, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, wheat germ, soybeans, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, whole grain cereals, eggs, liver, and peanuts.

Vitamin E may help people with higher environmental or lifestyle risk factors such as cigarette smoking, exposure to air pollution, high exposure to ultraviolet rays from sunlight.  It may also help treat dry, flaky skin, expedite wound healing, reduce itching, prevent or minimize the appearance of scars, fine lines and wrinkles and promote nail growth. 

Vitamin E deficiency symptoms include:

  • Muscular weakness, swelling or wasting
  • Poor co-ordination
  • Involuntary movement of the eyes
  • Brittle and falling hair
  • Tendency to form blood clots
  • Fat malabsorption
  • Celiac disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • FEMALE:  Menstrual discomfort
  • MALE:  Low sex drive, impotence

Supplementary range: 400 to 800 IU daily

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