Vitamin E is actually composed of a family of substances known as delta tocopherol.  The one with the most potent and biological activity is alpha tocopherol.  Supplements commonly list vitamin E as d-alpha tocopherol E).  Vitamin E is absorbed in the small intestine after being emulsified with other dietary fats.  20-50% of dietary vitamin E is absorbed.  Vitamin E is important for protecting blood vessels from damaging LDL “bad cholesterol particles”.  It also plays roles in protecting cell membranes from oxidative damage.

Signs & Symptoms of Vitamin E Deficiency:

  • Poor immune function
  • Ataxia (loss of balance and dizziness)
  • Pigmented retinopathy
  • Infertility
  • Myopathy (muscle pain)
  • Poor reflexes
  • Neuropathy
  • Dry skin
  • Opthalmoplegia

Vitamin E has been shown to be beneficial in the following conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Tardive dyskinesia
  • Cataracts
  • Poor Immunity
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Ischemia reperfusion injuries
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Pre menstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Fibrocystic Breast Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Dermatitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Mercury toxicity

Drugs, medications, or additives that may deplete or interfere with Vitamin E metabolism:

  • Alcohol
  • Isoniazid
  • Anticonvulsants such as phenobarbitol, phenytoin, and carbamazepine
  • Orlistat
  • Olestra (a food additive found in many fat free products)
  • Mineral oil (when taken consistently in higher doses)
  • Cholestyramine
  • Colesevelam (Welchol)
  • Colestipol
  • ** Cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) can lead to vitamin E deficiency through malabsorption.

Laboratory testing for Vitamin E:

  • Plasma
  • Red cell hemolysis
  • Expiratory pentane or ethane
  • Genetic defect on chromosome 8 (alpha-TTP)
  • Lymphocyte functional assays (Spectracell labs)

Food Sources:

  • Sunflower seeds, coconut, peanuts, cod liver oil, walnut, apple, sweet potatoes, almonds, and pecans

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