Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, available naturally in some foods and dietary supplements. It prevents over oxidation in the body. Vitamin E deficiency is seen very rarely, but it can be seen in people who are having genetic disorders and also in premature infants.
- Tocopherol: It is available in alpha, beta, gamma and delta forms.
- Tocotrienols: It is also available in alpha, beta, gamma and delta forms.
Out of the eight forms, alpha-tocopherol has the highest biological activity.
Functions of vitamin E:
It helps in several biological functions in the body:
- It is one of the antioxidant that protects the cells from the harmful free radicals. The free radicals arise from the oxidation process, causes damage to the cells, tissues and the organs of the body. It might also lead to cardiovascular diseases.
- Vitamin E has anti-aging properties and inflammatory properties. It protects the skin form scars, wrinkles, aging and inflammation.
- It is also available in supplements like capsules. It helps to make the hair healthier and longer. These are either taken orally or from the hair conditioners.
- It protects red blood cells and prevents the destruction of vitamin C and vitamin A from the oxidation in the digestive tract and in the blood vessels. And it is essential nutrient in reproduction.
- As it is an oxidant, it is used in beauty products like creams, lotions, soaps and shampoos. It protects the skin from the free radicals coming from the oxidation process. It also heals and protects the skin from sun rays.
- It protects and fights against certain cancers. It reduces the growth of the tumors in the body and also enhances the immune system to fight against cancer.
- It protects against heart attacks or strokes, by preventing blood clots. It is also involved in preventing the bad cholesterol from being oxidized and clogged in arteries in the body
- Alpha tocopherol helps in prevention of chronic diseases which are associated with oxidative stress.
- It helps in transferring the chemical information from one cell to the another to carry out different functions in the body. This process is called cell signaling.
- It protects from brain disease like Alzheimer disease and also from certain dementia, liver disease and against strokes.
Food sources of vitamin E: Vitamin E is available in many foods like almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, spinach, broccoli, cereals, hazelnuts, kiwifruit, mango, wheat germs, etc. It is also available in vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, safflower oil and soybean oil.