Vitamin E and its many benefits on our health

Vitamin E was discovered in the 1920s, when researchers found that rats deprived of this vitamin in their diet, lost their ability to reproduce. Despite its great contribution to our health, Vitamin E was still not considered "essential" for humans until as late as 1966! This vitamin consists of a group of fat-soluble compounds known as tocopherols and tocotrienols, the most active of which is alpha tocopherol. The name tocopherol comes from the Greek word meaning, "to bear offspring".
Since our bodies cannot manufacture Vitamin E, it has to be supplied in our diet, by foodstuffs or in supplement form.
Let me list some of the many ways in which Vitamin E benefits the body, and why it is important to ensure you get enough of it.

Vitamin E and its antitoxidant properties

Antioxidant properties. The leading role of Vitamin E appears to be as an antioxidant - helping to protect your cell membranes from the harmful action of unstable oxygen molecules (free radicals). Since an ever-increasing amount of scientific evidence is demonstrating that it is the oxidative action of these free radicals that lead to degenerative conditions such as cancer and heart disease, a diet providing plenty of Vitamin E will help to protect against these conditions.

Vitamin E and the immune system

Immune system. A healthy immune system is absolutely crucial to your well being, as it is the immune system that protects the body against all diseases. By protecting the thymus gland and the circulating white blood cells, Vitamin E helps to ensure the immune system stays in "peak condition".

Vitamin E and cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease. A low dietary intake of Vitamin E increases the risk of heart disease, in both men and women. Two recently-concluded long-term studies, one on men, and the other on post-menopausal women, showed the risk of heart disease was dramatically lower among individuals with a higher Vitamin E content in their diet. Vitamin E appears to protect the heart on a number of ways. It lowers total blood cholesterol levels by penetrating and disrupting the dangerous LDL (low-density lipoprotein or "bad" cholesterol) molecule, thus protecting the heart from oxidation by free radicals. Oxidised LDL cholesterol is much more likely to block arteries and contribute to hardening them. Once inside, Vitamin E's actions prevent oxidation. Vitamin E also inhibits the clustering of blood platelets - decreasing the possibilities of clots.

Vitamin E and eye problems

Eye problems. Vitamin E is essential to the health of your eyes. It helps to protect the eyes against the formation of cataracts and macular degeneration. Vitamin E also protects the Vitamin A (Retinol) present in your eyes, from damage by free radicals.

Vitamin E and the ageing process

Ageing. By protecting the cell membranes throughout your body, Vitamin E provides an anti-ageing effect. It may also help to offset or delay the effect of ageing on the mind, manifested by symptoms such as memory loss.

Vitamin E and cancer

Cancer. There is no single vitamin, which alone, can protect you against cancer. Reduction of cancer risk is achieved through a combination of lifestyle factors like healthy diet, regular exercise, and avoidance of smoking and secondary -inhalation smoke (others smoking near you). Eminently respectable scientific evidence has shown however, that Vitamin E, even on its own, is capable of protecting against cancers of the lungs, cervix, and gastrointestinal tract.

Vitamin E in natural sources

Good natural sources of Vitamin E include wheatgerm oil, sunflower oil, almond oil, wheatgerm, wholegrain cereals and eggs. Broccoli and other leafy green vegetables are also reliable sources.

Since many people do not regularly consume foods that are rich in Vitamin E, I always recommend that my clients take a daily measure in supplemental form as an insurance strategy!

Natural and synthetic Vitamin E

Natural and synthetic Vitamin E are very different in composition, structure and bioavailability (this is the ability of the body to actually use the vitamin). Natural Vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol) has a significantly higher bioavailability than synthetic Vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopherol). Other natural forms of Vitamin E include beta-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol, which are found in a variety of foodstuffs. Since it is highly likely that the body benefits differently from ingesting of each of these forms; if possible, it is best to find a supplement that contains them all.

Natural vs synthetic

Natural Vitamin E is generally recognised as having 36 percent greater potency than its synthetic form. In addition to this, some recent studies have also revealed that natural Vitamin E stays longer in the body tissues, increasing its potency to twice that of its synthetic counterpart!

Ensure you get at least 600iu (international units) every day. It makes good sense.

This article is courtesy of Alan Gordon

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