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Vitamin E (Tocopherols: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Mixed)

The principal use of vitamin E is as an antioxidant in protecting against heart disease, cancer, and strokes. Because of its strong antioxidant effects, a high-E diet (or taking of worthwhile vitamin E supplements) exerts protective effect in many common health problems.

vitamin E - tocopherols

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Dosage: RDA 15 IU/ ODA 400 IU/ TDA 1,200 IU. It is usually measured in international units (IU), but sometimes in milligrams (mg). One mg is equal to 1.5 IU. Recommended: Normal dosage is 400-800 IU daily. Menopausal patients should take 800 IU daily, until hot flashes subside, and then lower to 400 IU daily. Diabetic patients given 1,350 IU daily experienced lowered insulin need, and their glucose tolerance and insulin activity improved. Of 87,000 nurses, those who took 100 IU of vitamin E for two years had a 41% lower risk of heart disease. Dosages of 400-800 IU provide better oxidative protection for those in high-stress situations.

Natural vs. synthetic forms: Be sure you are getting natural vitamin E, not synthetics. Synthetics are worthless; do not purchase or use them. Read the label: Natural E is written “tocopherols” or “d-tocopherol.” Natural alpha-tocopherol (the most active form of E) is “alpha-tocopherol” (or d-alpha-tocopherol). The synthetic is “tocopheryl” [with a “y”] or “dl-alpha-tocopherol” [with “dl”]. Mixed tocopherols contain alpha, beta, and delta tocopherol. Alpha tocopherol (d-alpha-tocopherol) has the highest level of activity, and is preferred by many specialists. But mixed tocopherols are also good. Another commercial form is “water-soluble vitamin E.” Although much more expensive, it is no more absorbable or useful in the body than the natural oil-soluble type.

vitamin E food sources

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Sources: Best sources – Fresh, cold-pressed wheat germ oil and flaxseed oil. (Because flaxseed oil is also so rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which prevent cancer, it is the best oil to take.) Other sources – other unrefined, cold-pressed, crude vegetable oils also have vitamin E. Soy oil and sunflower oil are good; corn oil somewhat lesser so. All whole raw or sprouted seeds, nuts, and grains contain vitamin E. It is also in green, leafy vegetables and eggs.

vitamin E benefits

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Functions

  • The principal use of vitamin E is as an antioxidant in protecting against heart disease, cancer, and strokes.
  • It oxygenates the cells and tissues, reduces the need for oxygen.
  • Prevents unsaturated fatty acids and oil-soluble vitamins from being destroyed in the body.
  • Dilates blood vessels and thus improves circulation.
  • Prevents scar tissue formation in burns.
  • Protects and helps capillaries, lungs, and reproductive organs.
  • Used in treating heart disease, varicose veins, burns, angina pectoris, emphysema, hypoglycemia, leg ulcers, reproductive problems, and infertility (male or female).
  • Lessens likelihood of miscarriages.
  • Vitamin E enters the fatty portion of cell membranes; there it stabilizes and protects them from compounds (such as lead, mercury, and other heavy metals), also toxic compounds (such as benzene, carbon tetrachloride, cleaning solvents, drugs, radiation, and the body’s free-radical metabolites).

Because of its strong antioxidant effects, a high-E diet (or taking of worthwhile vitamin E supplements) exerts protective effect in many common health problems.

  • It protects the thymus gland and circulates white blood cells from damage.
  • It is important in immune function, especially during stress and chronic viral illnesses (such as AIDS and chronic viral hepatitis).
  • It reduces LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol.
  • When taken in high doses, it offers significant protection against cancer. (In one study, patients with low vitamin E levels had a 50% greater risk of cancer).
  • Vitamin E helps relieve many post-menstrual symptoms, including fibrocystic breast disease. It is effective in relieving hot flashes and menopausal vaginal complaints.

Deficiency Symptoms: Nerve damage, muscle weakness, poor coordination, involuntary movement of the eyes, and breaking of red blood cells (leading to hemolytic anemia). In premature infants, vitamin E deficiency is characterized by hemolytic anemia and a severe eye disorder (retrolental fibroplasia). Other deficiency symptoms – pulmonary embolism, strokes, heart disease, coronary degeneration, testicle degeneration, miscarriages, sterility, muscular disorders, red-blood cell fragility, fat malabsorption syndromes; such as celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and post gastrectomy syndrome, and hereditary disorders of red blood cells (such as sickle-cell anemia and thalassemia).

Needed for Assimilation: vitamin A, C, D, and E.

Cautions: Iron supplements destroy vitamin E. Rancid oil does also. Do not eat any rancid grains or other foods – and that includes even slightly old wheat germ oil. Many of those interested in better health never eat wheat germ, since it is so difficult to obtain fresh and then keep it from going rancid before being eaten. You can consider toasted wheat germ to be rancid. One study suggested that those with high blood pressure, heart conditions, or rheumatic heart disease do best not taking over 400-600 IU of vitamin E daily. But all other reports indicated vitamin E was safe in any quantity. The healing, strengthening power of vitamin E is not perceived until one takes at least 200-600 mg daily.

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Comments (4)

Excellent article. I did not know that about the synthetic E. I have noticed that some of the ACE supplements also come with Sellenium. (ACES) Any thoughts on that?

A great informative post.

I love researching alternative health. Your article is very useful.

Excellent!

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