Vitamin E Tocopherol functions and dosage as an antioxidant - Food Sources of Natural Vitamin E


Vitamin E is a mixture of several related compounds known as tocopherols. The a-tocopherol molecule is the most potent of the tocopherols. Vitamin E is absorbed from the intestines packaged in chylomicrons. It is delivered to the tissues via chylomicron transport and then to the liver through chylomicron remnant uptake.

Vitamin E is a recent discovery. It was first identified in 1922 when researchers found that rats fed a limited diet became infertile. It is a powerful antioxidant, responsible for protecting the body from pollutants, chemicals, and rancid fats that create the free radicals which in turn contribute to cancer and break down other nutrients in the body.

Food Sources of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is found in nuts, oils, vegetables, sunflower seeds, whole grains, spinach, oils, seeds, wheat oils, asparagus, avocado, beef, seafood, apples, carrots, celery etc.

Benefits of Vitamin E

Vitamin E fights oxygen free radicals, helps stave off diseases and enhance our overall health. Vitamin E deactivates potentially damaging oxygen free radicals, and prevents heart diseases and other related complications. People with exiting heart disease who take Vitamin E have a 77% lower risk of subsequent (non-fatal) heart attack that those who do not. Higher doses of vitamin E have been found effective in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Both forms of vitamin E are absorbed equally well through the gut, but the liver clearly prefers the natural form, transferring it to lipoproteins to be transported through the blood for deposition into the tissues.

Vitamin E protects against prostate cancer. One recent finish study reported a reduced incidence of prostate cancer in male smokers who took 50 IU Vitamin E daily for five to eight years.

Why take Natural Vitamin E supplements?

Yet most of us are unaware about the daily recommended allowance of 30 International Units. This is tough to achieve since this quantity of Vitamin E will be present only in two quarts of corn oil or pound of sunflower seeds. You are left with only one way to complete the Vitamin E intake and that is through supplements.

The most preferable form of taking Vitamin E is liquid form due to better absorption than pill form.

Choosing Natural Vitamin E source

Whether or not the vitamin E is natural, there are several natural tocopherols which has lot of health benefits.

The natural vitamin E is retained by a two-to-one ratio over the synthetic. Natural vitamin E may cost 2 to 3 times more, but it is twice as effective. You can sometimes find the natural vitamin E included in a quality liquid multivitamin, at much lower cost. Natural vitamin E has roughly twice the availability of synthetic vitamin E. Researchers have long known that natural vitamin E, milligram for milligram, is about 36 percent more potent than the synthetic form of the vitamin.

ADM is the largest producer of Natural Source Vitamin E and Mixed Tocopherols. The natural form of vitamin E, d-alpha-tocopherol, is better retained by the body, Vitamin E is found naturally in some foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement, Naturally occurring vitamin E exists in eight chemical forms (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol).

RDA of Vitamin E

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the intake of vitamin E by women 19 to 50 years of age averaged less than 90% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Men of the same age had intakes close to 100% of the RDA. These numbers looks promising but remember that RDA is an absolute minimum requirement, below these numbers makes you deficient.

Functions of Vitamin E

Due to its lipophilic nature, vitamin E accumulates in cellular membranes, fat deposits and other circulating lipoproteins. The major site of vitamin E storage is in adipose tissue.

The major function of vitamin E is to act as a natural antioxidant by scavenging free radicals and molecular oxygen. In particular vitamin E is important for preventing peroxidation of polyunsaturated membrane fatty acids. The vitamins E and C are interrelated in their antioxidant capabilities. Active a -tocopherol can be regenerated by interaction with vitamin C following scavenge of a peroxy free radical. Alternatively, a -tocopherol can scavenge two peroxy free radicals and then be conjugated to glucuronate for excretion in the bile. Vitamin E is also important in the formation of red blood cells and it helps the body to use vitamin K.


The recommended daily intake of vitamin E from food now stands at 15 milligrams from food. That's the equivalent of 22 IU from natural-source vitamin E or 33 IUs of the synthetic form. Researchers are still writing the book on vitamin E. Evidence from observational studies suggests that at least 400 IU of vitamin E per day, and possibly more, are needed for optimal health. Since standard multivitamins usually contain around 30 IU, a separate vitamin E supplement is needed to achieve this level.

What are the deficiency symptoms of vitamin E?

May lead to a rupture of red blood cells, loss of reproductive powers, lack of sexual vitality, abnormal fat deposits in muscles, degenerative changes in the changes in the heart and other muscles; dry skin.  Neurological disorders have been associated with vitamin E deficiencies associated with fat malabsorptive disorders.

Overdosage signs of vitamin E

Signs of an overdose may include double vision,headache, fatigue, muscular weakness and gastroinstetinal trouble. Increased intake of vitamin E is recommended in premature infants fed formulas that are low in the vitamin as well as in persons consuming a diet high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fatty acids tend to form free radicals upon exposure to oxygen and this may lead to an increased risk of certain cancers.


Drugs or Nutrients that decrease its absorption or levels in the body: Mineral Oil, Orlistat, bile acid sequestrants (Cholestyramin, Colestipol), fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, haloperidol, chitosan, polyunsatured fatty acids. Supplementation with Vitamin E may be necessary and vitamin E benefit is certain.

How to Store the Vitamin E?

Heat and/or moisture may alter the vitamin. Refrigeration is recommended.

Vitamin E Deficiency

Muscular dystrophy
Haemolytic anaemia


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