One of the most important of all of the recognized vitamins known is vitamin E. While found naturally in some foods it may be added to others and made available as a daily dietary supplement. The term vitamin E refers to a group of fat soluble compounds, each of which has its own distinctive antioxidant availability and activity. When we take vitamin E supplements each day we are assured of giving our body a variety of these nutrients to meet our body’s requirements on a daily basis.
Vitamin E occurs naturally in eight chemical forms
The fat soluble vitamin E our body requires is found in eight different and unique forms: alpha, beta, gamma & delta (tocopherol); plus alpha, beta, gamma, and delta (tocotrienol). Each of these has been found to have distinctive and valuable antioxidant activities to offer and have varying levels of what is called biological activity. Of them only alpha tocopherol is recognized as meeting human requirements.
Vitamin E benefits are largely dependent on the liver
Vitamin E is processed in the liver and serum concentrations are dependent on that means as it takes in nutrients absorbed in through the small intestine. Our liver then passes the alpha tocopherol portion of the E vitamin on into the digestive system and on to the rest of the body.
An antioxidant, vitamin E has the job of protecting cells
As in the case of many of our known antioxidant vitamins, vitamin E helps by protecting cells from the damage free radicals can cause. These free radicals, which contain “unshared” electrons, cause damage to cells and are suspect in contributing to development of cancers as well as cardiovascular related diseases.
Those “unshared” electrons in our body are considered highly energetic and when they react quickly with oxygen, they form what are called reactive oxygen species or ROS which can be harmful to normal cell structure.
The ROS are considered to be part of a signaling process among our body’s cells. Antioxidants, including vitamin E, have the ability to protect our cells from the harmful effects of ROS.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin E can vary
Recommended daily allowances for vitamin E as well as other nutrients can vary depending on an individual’s needs and requirements. As the vitamin we have named E is fat soluble, it does not flush readily from the body as do water soluble vitamins and nutrients like vitamin C and some of the B vitamins. It can be stored up and utilized by the body on an as needed basis without causing harmful effects.
Breastfed babies should not be fed a supplemental vitamin E because they will receive sufficient amounts through their mother’s milk. Young children, adults, and senior citizens should have the recommended daily amount of vitamin E once each day in a vitamin mineral supplement or if there is need for additional amounts of that particular vitamin it can be supplied as vitamin E capsules for easy swallowing.
When it is added into a multivitamin E will be imbedded in a tablet, capsule, or liquid form but when in individual form will most often be in capsule form. The recommended daily dose of E for women is 400 IU daily while men should take 600 IU per day for vitamin E benefits.
Vitamin E supplements offer many health benefits
The vitamin E we take each day has many health benefits including its ability to protect our cell membranes, keeping muscles, red blood cells, nerves, heart, skin, and circulation healthy and fully functional. It may well help fight off cancerous cells in the skin (melanoma) as well as prevent abnormal blood clotting, protect our immune system, and reduce our risk of acquiring Alzheimer’s disease.