The Basics of Vitamin E

In our continuing efforts to educate our readers about the benefits and proper use of vitamins, this article will focus on Vitamin E. This nutrient is made up of a complex of eight organic compounds called tocopherols and tocotrienols. They are found in the main staples of our diet, and are also available as supplements. Vitamin E is one of the most popular supplements taken for its antioxidant power in the world, and is a main staple in almost all multivitamins on the market, according to Science Daily. Acting as an antioxidant, Vitamin E works to slow down and reverse the effects of damaged cells due to aging, and also controls several important functions of the body. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that unlike water-soluble vitamins, it doesn’t need to be absorbed by the body every day, as the body stores the nutrients in the liver and fat tissues.

What is Vitamin E Responsible For?

Vitamin E plays a major role in keeping our body healthy, and is associated with the items listed below:

  • Antioxidant: Vitamin E is foremost an antioxidant, which means that it helps to “protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals {which} are compounds formed when our bodies convert food we eat into energy,” according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “People are also exposed to free radicals in the environment from cigarette smoke, air pollution and ultraviolet light from the sun.” These free radicals can be stored in your skin, eyes and other organs, and can lead to disease and aging.
  • Immune System: Vitamin E maintains our immune system by protecting us from pathogens such as bacteria and viruses that can make us sick.
  • Blood Clots – NIH claims that Vitamin E can help to widen blood cells, thus preventing blood clots from forming.
  • Vision Loss – Some studies have found that high doses of Vitamin E in conjunction with “other antioxidants, zinc, and copper showed promise for slowing down the rate of vision loss,” such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), loss of central vision and cataracts,” claims the NIH.
  • Muscles – This antioxidant controls the proper movement of muscles

What Kind of Foods Contain Vitamin E?

Colorado State University cites recent medical research that has shown that to get the maximum benefit of Vitamin E, it is better to consume fruits and vegetables that contain the tocopherols and tocotrienols than to take it as a supplement. There are a variety of foods in our diet that contain Vitamin E, including:

  • Vegetable Oils – Vegetables oils are the primary sources of Vitamin E that we consume. We can get the benefits by cooking with the oils, or adding them to our food. Examples include olive, safflower, almond, cottonseed, corn and soybean oils, and margarine.
  • Nuts – Almonds, pistachios, pecans and hazelnuts
  • Leafy Greens – Spinach, beet greens, turnip and collard greens
  • Fruits – Avocado, kiwi, mango and papaya
  • Vegetables – Asparagus, swiss chard, kale and broccoli
  • Tofu
  • Seafood – Shrimp, herring, salmon and rainbow trout
  • Seeds – Sunflower, squash and sesame seeds
  • Eggs
  • Fortified Cereals

What are the Signs of Vitamin E Deficiency?

Most people that eat a well-balanced diet are not Vitamin E deficient, and can get the benefits of this antioxidant through the consumption of aforementioned foods. However, premature infants or those that were born weighing very low, or “individuals with rare genetic abnormalities in the alpha-tocopherol transfer protein” are most at risk for Vitamin E deficiency explains Dr. Weil. People with cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, or other ailments that prevent fat from being digested and absorbed properly, are also at risk, as reported by NIH. Additionally, with the low-fat diet craze, many people have been consuming less foods that contain the antioxidant, such as cooking oils and rich desserts, leading to rising deficiencies. Below are the signs that can point to a Vitamin E deficiency:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Problems with vision
  • Loss of feeling in the muscles
  • Intestinal problems – WebMD classified this as “greasy stools, chronic diarrhea and an inability to secrete bile.”

How to Properly Take Vitamin E

If you and your doctor have decided that you have a Vitamin E deficiency, and you need to take this antioxidant as a supplement, there are proper doses you need to consume. Your daily dose depends on your age, and NIH provides a chart with proper doses below.

Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months 4 mg (6 IU)
Infants 7–12 months 5 mg (7.5 IU)
Children 1–3 years 6 mg (9 IU)
Children 4–8 years 7 mg (10.4 IU)
Children 9–13 years 11 mg (16.4 IU)
Teens 14–18 years 15 mg (22.4 IU)
Adults 15 mg (22.4 IU)
Pregnant teens and women 15 mg (22.4 IU)
Breastfeeding teens and women 19 mg (28.4 IU)

It’s important to remember that absorbability, or the degree to which our bodies absorb and process the vitamins, differs depending on how you consume Vitamin E. For example, a study cited in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, as reported by Science Daily, claimed that Vitamin E was very well absorbed when added to fortified cereals, but not absorbed as well through supplementation. The researchers found that “people who are taking vitamin E supplements only with liquids on an empty stomach are accomplishing nothing and getting few if any benefits from the supplements.”

To help with bioavailability, or the degree to which the nutrients get absorbed and utilized in our circulation, you should add Willard Water® to your daily diet.  Studies consistently show that drinking Willard Water® helps with vitamin absorption and utilization.  Furthermore, a recent cellular study conducted by NIS Labs in Klamath Falls, Oregon, found that Willard Water® was especially effective in increasing absorption, and activity, of Vitamin E. The patented micelle catalyst in Willard Water® has also been found to aid in the breakdown of particles, which frees antioxidants and promotes absorbability.

In conclusion, Vitamin E is an important factor in regulating our immune system and preventing our cells from premature aging. As long as you consume foods with healthy fats, such as nuts, avocados and cooking oils, you will probably get enough Vitamin E to prevent any deficiency. If you do need to take additional supplements, remember to take them with Willard Water® to ensure maximum absorption and bioavailability.

 

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