Vitamin E Or Alpha-Tocopherol – Do I Need It Or Not?

Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin. Its chemical composition consists of a combination of compounds that include Alpha-Tocopherol. Since the body is incapable of producing this vitamin by itself, it needs to be supplied through a nutritious diet or vitamin supplements in order to meet the daily requirements of the body. Vitamin E is found in the body’s tissue system with the highest concentrations being in the pituitary and suprarenal glands.

The most important function of Vitamin E is that it’s antioxidant properties help to neutralize the free radicals which are responsible for damaging cells and causing premature aging. Thus, along with Vitamins C and A, these antioxidants help to retard the aging process and even prevent certain types of cancer.

Vitamin E is also responsible for lowering the LDL levels in the body. LDL is the bad form of cholesterol that can build up along the artery walls over time and lead to coronary diseases and blood clotting.

Alpha-Tocopherol is known to improve muscular development and also helps straighten the immune system by making it more resistant to viral and bacterial infections. With the help of Vitamin C and beta carotenes it can also help prevent the development of cataracts.

Vitamin E is abundantly found in sweet potatoes and mangoes. Oils such as sunflower, peanut, olive and safflower are also excellent sources. Even nutty snack foods such as walnuts, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds have adequate amounts of vitamin E.

Even foods such as spinach, broccoli, corn, eggs, wheatgerm and soya also contain adequate amounts of Vitamin E. However, green vegetables contain only minute quantities of this vitamin.

It is important to note that care should be taken during preparation of food so that the Vitamin E does not get destroyed. Freezing, processing and exposing these foods to air can destroy the Vitamin E nutrients.

Studies have revealed that the daily recommended dosage of Vitamin E is 12 mg. However, those who smoke cigarettes or who stay in areas that are high in air pollution levels should consume higher quantities of this vitamin to counteract the adverse effects of smoke on the lungs.

It is very rare to come across a Vitamin E deficiency simply because it is so abundantly found in almost all foods and also because the body is capable of storing this fat soluble vitamin. However, even though it’s rare to suffer for a deficiency, symptoms can be severe and include the gradual breakdown of the kidneys. Other potential problems associated with a Vitamin E deficiency can include an increased risk of suffering miscarriages and infertility.

Other general symptoms such as anemia, lethargy and temporary loss of balance can also be experienced. It is important to cure a Vitamin E deficiency the moment it is detected otherwise the body will just waste away over time.

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