Vitamin E is a common name for a group of related substances, known as tocopherols; there are alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherols. Alpha tocopherol is the most common and most potent form of vitamin E. Since it is fat-soluble, this vitamin can be stored in the body for a long time, mainly in fatty tissue and liver. It is only found in some types of food, and those with a high fat content, so it is difficult to bring enough fat into body b eating food with little fat. Nutritional supplements are useful in achieving optimal vitamin E levels in the body.
How does it work?
One of the major roles of vitamin E is the protection of cell membranes. It also helps the body utilize vitamin K and selenium. Today, it is best known for antioxidant activity, useful in preventing various diseases; in other words, this substance helps neutralize free radicals – unstable oxygen molecules that damage the cells.
PREVENTION: since it protects cell membranes and acts as antioxidant, vitamin E can play a role in preventing cancer. There are also convincing studies that show that it protects against cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease, heart attack and stroke. The mechanism of action is to reduce the level of ”bad” (LDL) cholesterol and prevent the formation of blood clots. Aanti-inflammatory effect of vitamin E also contributes to the beneficial effect on heart diseases. The results of two major studies have shown that this substance reduces the risk of heart disease by 25% to 50%. Vitamin E can also prevent chest pain (angina pectoris). Recent studies have shown that taking vitamin E with vitamin C protects against some of the harmful effects of fatty food consumption.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: due to the efficacy of vitamin E in protecting cells from free radicals, some doctors believe that it can slow down aging. There is also evidence that this substance strengthens the immune system of the elderly, protects against the effects of cigarette smoke and environmental contamination, delays the development of cataract and slows the progression of Alzheimer’s and perhaps Parkinson’s disease.
Other studies have shown that vitamin E can alleviate severe pain in the legs that appear in cardiovascular disease, called intermittent claudication. It can also relieve premenstrual pain and breast sensitivity. It should also be said that the local application of cream and oil with vitamin E helps in healing wounds.
How much vitamin E is needed?
Although the recommended amounts of vitamin E daily intake have not been established, the recommended safe dose is 4 mg for men and 3 mg for women. This is a sufficient amount to prevent deficiency, but the full antioxidant effect is achieved by taking larger doses.
IF YOU TAKE TOO LITTLE: taking vitamin E in amounts smaller than recommended may cause neurological damage to red blood cells and shorten their life span. If the diet is balanced, such symptoms are rare.
IF YOU TAKE TOO MUCH: to date, no toxic effects of too much vitamin E intake have been recorded. Very rarely, headaches and diarrhea may occur, but it should not be forgotten that very high doses may interfere with vitamin A absorption.
How to take it?
DOSAGE: to prevent various diseases, many nutritionists recommend taking 250 to 500 mg of vitamin E per day in a form of a tablet or capsule. (This value includes Vitamin E in multivitamin preparations.) People with increased risk of heart disease or cancer are recommended to take 800 mg. Vitamin E is particularly effective if taken with vitamin C.
USE GUIDELINES: try taking dietary supplements every day at the same time. If you take it with food, the absorption is better and reduces the likelihood of stomach irritation. For local application, apply oil to the skin from the capsule; you can also use creams with vitamin E.
Wheat germ in an exquisite dietary source of vitamin E; two teaspoons contain 40 mg. Huge amounts are also found in vegetable oil, nuts and seeds (e.g. almonds and sunflower seeds), green leafy vegetables and whole grains.
IMPORTANT: people who take anticoagulants or Aspirin (Andol) should consult a doctor before taking vitamin E preparations. Do not take dietary supplements with vitamin E two days before and two days after surgery.