Knowing the facts about vitamin E helps to understand its many beneficial effects on the human body as well as its potential dangers.
Vitamin E: Early Historical Facts
- Vitamin E was discovered in 1922 by Dr. Herbert Evans and Katherine Bishop in their research on reproduction in rats.
- Further research continued and in 1936 Dr. Evans isolated alpha-tocopherol.
- The following year he isolated beta tocopherol and gamma tocopherol
- Vitamin E was proposed as an antioxidant in 1945.
- In 1968, researchers proposed that vitamin E as an antioxidant that protected cell lipids from free radicals.
Vitamin E: General Facts
- The human body can store vitamin E, a fat soluble vitamin, in its fatty tissue.
- The amount of vitamin E you need depends on your weight, age and any special health issues or concerns.
- Measured in international units (IUs), the body needs at least 200 IUs of vitamin E each day.
- Vitamin E consists of eight distinct antioxidant compounds. There are four tocopherols and four tocopherols with alpha, beta, delta and gamma in each group.
- Alpha-tocopherols is the compound that is most active in the body.
Fact: Vitamin E is an Important Antioxidant
- As an antioxidant vitamin E intercepts and neutralizes free radicals in the body.
- It protects the body's tissues and cells from damage.
- Antioxidants slow the body's aging process.
Fact: Vitamin E Has Many Benefits
In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E is needed for the healthy functioning of many systems in the body. The health benefits of vitamin E include:
- Helping with the production of red blood cells
- Strengthening the immune system
- Helping the body to process and use vitamin K
- Improving blood circulation and overall circulatory system
- Promoting normal blood clotting
- Repairing tissue
- Helping to prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer and stroke
- Reducing the risk and of Alzheimer's disease
- Decreasing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome
Fact: Wheat Germ Oil is the Best Food Source of Vitamin E
- In addition to wheat germ other foods that are rich in vitamin E include:
- Cold pressed vegetable oils
- Peanut butter
- Whole grains
- Dark, leafy vegetables
- Fortified cereals
- Foods that contain an amount of vitamin E that is significant include:
- Brown Rice
- Organ meats
- Vitamin E is also found in certain herbs including:
- Rose hips
Vitamin E Supplements
Many people do not get a sufficient amount of vitamin E from natural food sources. This is due to an improper diet which generally includes eating large amounts of processed food.
- Supplements are available in two forms - natural and synthetic.
- Synthetic vitamin E has half the activity level, or functional value, of natural vitamin E.
- Synthetic forms of vitamin E are labeled D,L and natural forms are labeled D.
- Vitamin E supplements are available in many forms including:
- Powder to mix with juice or powder or add to bars or gels
Fact: Too Much Vitamin E can be Harmful
- Do not take vitamin E supplements before consulting with your doctor especially if you are taking any blood thinning medication. It can be very dangerous because Vitamin E acts like a blood thinner
- Vitamin E can reach toxic levels since it is stored in the body. Make sure not to take mega doses of it. Never take amounts of vitamin E over 1200 IUs before checking with your doctor.
- Do not take an iron supplement along with your vitamin E supplement. If you take both, take them at different times of the day. Iron in the form of ferrous sulfate, and other organic forms, will destroy vitamin E.
- Anyone suffering from rheumatic heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or an overactive thyroid should never exceed the recommended dose of this vitamin.
- Take a minimum amount of zinc along with your vitamin E each day. Check your vitamin E supplement as some brands have the zinc already in the vitamin.
Learning the facts about vitamin E will help you understand your body's need for this essential nutrient.