Vitamin E – Learn How It Can Help You

Vitamin E – What Is It?

vitamin E antioxidantVitamin E is one of many ingredients in the Tikva product. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that exists in eight different forms. Each form has its own biological activity, which is the measure of potency or functional use in the body. Alpha-tocopherol (α-tocopherol) is the name of the most active form of vitamin E in humans. It is also a powerful biological antioxidant. In supplements is usually sold as alpha-tocopheryl acetate, a form of alpha-tocopherol that protects its ability to function as an antioxidant.

Antioxidants such as vitamin E act to protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which are potentially damaging by-products of energy metabolism. Free radicals can damage cells and may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. It has also been shown to play a role in immune function, in DNA repair, and other metabolic processes.

-Office of Dietary Supplements

Vitamin E Health Benefits

Prevent or delay heart disease and related complications.

vitamin e coronary heart diseasePreliminary research has led to a widely held belief that vitamin E may help prevent or delay coronary heart disease. Researchers have reported that oxidative changes to LDL-cholesterol (sometimes called “bad” cholesterol) promote blockages (atherosclerosis) in coronary arteries that may lead to heart attacks. Vitamin E may help prevent or delay coronary heart disease by limiting the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol. Vitamin E also may help prevent the formation of blood clots, which could lead to a heart attack. Observational studies have associated lower rates of heart disease with higher vitamin E intake.

A study of approximately 90,000 nurses suggested that the incidence of heart disease was 30% to 40% lower among nurses with the highest intake of vitamin E from diet and supplements. Researchers found that the apparent benefit was mainly associated with intake of vitamin E from dietary supplements . High vitamin E intake from food was not associated with significant cardiac risk reduction.

A 1994 review of 5,133 Finnish men and women aged 30-69 years also suggested that increased dietary intake of vitamin E was associated with decreased mortality (death) from heart disease.

-Office of Dietary Supplements

Prevent or delay cataracts and macular degeneration.

vitamin e cataractsAnimal studies indicate that vitamin E protects against cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye that is a leading cause of blindness in older people. So far most studies have shown only a minor protective effect, although one study of 764 people reported that taking vitamin E supplements cut the incidence of cataracts in half. One recent study in humans found that the risk of late-stage macular degeneration, a potentially blinding eye disorder, was significantly lower in older adults who had high levels of vitamin E in their bloodstream.

Slow down the aging process and boost immune function.

With age, the immune system becomes less efficient at fighting off microbes and viruses. Part of this decline may be due to low levels of vitamin E in the bloodstream. Some studies have shown improved immune responses in older people who take vitamin E supplements. Vitamin E may also slow the effects of aging by protecting cells from free-radical damage.

Alpha Tocopherol, Free Radicals And Cardiovascular Disease

vitamin e ldl oxidationThe main function of alpha-tocopherol in humans appears to be that of an antioxidant .  Free radicals are formed primarily in the body during normal metabolism and also upon exposure to environmental factors such as cigarette smoke or pollutants. Fats, which are an integral part of all cell membranes, are vulnerable to destruction through oxidation by free radicals.  The fat-soluble vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), is uniquely suited to intercepting free radicals and preventing a chain reaction of lipid destruction.  Aside from maintaining the integrity of cell membranes throughout the body, alpha-tocopherol also protects the fats in low density lipoproteins (LDLs) from oxidation. Lipoproteins are particles composed of lipids and proteins, which are able to transport fats through the blood stream. LDLs transport cholesterol from the liver to the tissues of the body. Oxidized LDLs have been implicated in the development of cardiovascular diseases.  When a molecule of alpha-tocopherol neutralizes a free radical, it is altered in such a way that its antioxidant capacity is lost.  However, other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, are capable of regenerating the antioxidant capacity of alpha-tocopherol.

Several other functions of alpha-tocopherol have been identified, which likely are not related to its antioxidant capacity. Alpha-tocopherol is known to inhibit the actvity of protein kinase C, an important cell signaling molecule, as well as to affect the expression and activity of immune and inflammatory cells. Additionally, alpha-tocopherol has been shown to inhibit platelet aggregation and to enhance vasodilation.

-Linus Pauling Institute

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