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Tocopherol/Tocotrienol - Vitamin E


Natural vitamin E exists in eight different forms, four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. D-alpha-tocopherol is recognised as the most active form of vitamin E in humans. Vitamin E is fat-soluble, unstable to heat, light, and oxygen.

It is a powerful antioxidant and protects tissues and DNA against damage by free radicals. It may have anti-cancer activity as a result. It helps prolong the life of red blood cells, plays an essential role in cellular respiration, protects biological membranes such as those found in the nerves, muscles, and the cardiovascular system, and reduces osteoporosis. It also helps the body effectively use and store vitamin A and protects B-complex vitamins and vitamin C from oxidation. Vitamin E is absorbed freely in the gut and is stored in adipose tissue, liver, and muscle. Smaller amounts are also stored in the adrenal and pituitary glands, red blood cells and platelets, testes, and ovaries.

FOOD SOURCES

Wheatgerm and wheatgerm oil (exceptionally high), nuts and nut oils (walnut, palm, peanut), seeds and seed oils (olive, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, flax), asparagus, oats, soybean, coconut, tomatoes, carrots.

SUPPLEMENTATION

Commercial vitamin E supplements range from fully synthetic vitamin E (d,l-alpha-tocopherol) usually as the acetate ester or succinate, through to ‘all natural’ (d-alpha-tocopherol) and ‘mixed’ types in between, including possibly tocotrienols. There is some question about the effectiveness of the synthetic form and natural sources such as wheatgerm or wheatgerm oil may be preferable for supplementation

SIGNS OF DEFICIENCY

Rupture of red blood cells, muscular wasting, abnormal fat deposits in the muscles, nephritis, impairment of haemoglobin formation, impaired utilisation of some amino acids, possible sterility in men, miscarriage in pregnant women, reduced pituitary and adrenal function. Severe deficiency can result in damage to liver and kidneys. Chronic deficiency may increase cancer risks.

SIGNS OF TOXICITY

There are no known toxic effects even at high doses (800mg/day).

DAILY REQUIREMENT

Approx. 10-20mg

 

 

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