Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble compounds called tocopherols, and a related group, tocotrienols. As for the latter, research is still in its infancy. Most supplements contain only d-alfa-tocopherol, but the whole complex is essential; d-alfa-, d-beta-, d-gamma-, and d-delta-tocopherol.
Good natural sources are: wheat germ, seeds, vegetable oils, green leaves, and egg yolk.
Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant. It strengthens the blood vessels, improves elasticity of all tissues, stimulates healing, increases the concentration of oxygen in blood and cells, and protects cells in case of low access of oxygen. It also protects the lipids of the cell membranes against oxidation, a function essential for the prevention of cancer. (According to the cancer model I described in my e-book From Fungi to Cancer , cancer develops because the cell membranes degenerate and proper cellular respiration is destroyed. According to the present level of knowledge, the two most important substances for the protection of the cell membranes against oxidation are vitamin E and curcumin, the latter being the yellow compound of turmeric.)
As an antioxidant it plays a strong role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. For its well-known ability to protect against stroke and heart attack, the dose must be high. 400 I.U. per day for a long time is the minimum. It takes several years of full supplementation until full effect is reached.
This vitamin protects prostaglandins (and the oils from which they are produced) from oxidation. (Prostaglandins are involved in all processes of our biology.)
Further it stimulates resorption of unsaturated fat, the immune system, detoxification, hormonal activity, and sexual functions. It is a pro-sexual nutrient, increasing fertility, sexual ability and interest.
Finally it protects other antioxidants from oxidation and increases the effects of vitamin A and several other nutrients.
RDA is 30 I.U., but E-vitamin is safe up to 2000 I.U. per day. Higher doses are insufficiently studied, but negative side-effects have been recorded.
A reasonable dose for a healthy individual is 1000 I.U.
Initially, vitamin E supplementation can raise blood pressure; if you have hypertension or heart disease, start low and build up the dose gradually. The effect is temporary and of no concern to healthy individuals.
Supplementation should always be in the form of a tocopherol complex, containing all the four known tocopherols (d-alfa-, d-beta-, d-gamma-, and d-delta-tocopherol). Supplemental intake of only d-alfa-tocopherol, which is quite common, has proved to give very limited benefits and sometimes harmful side-effects.
Certain medicines do conflict with vitamin E, and so do some conventional cancer treatments. Radiation, for instance, kills the tumour cells by generating strong oxidation. Vitamin E and other antioxidants will block the effect of the radiation by stopping the oxidation and thereby protecting the tumour from destruction.
E-vitamin (along with vitamins A, D, and K) belongs to the fat-soluble vitamins. It means that you cannot absorb the vitamin unless there is a presence of fat. Natural sources of vitamin E normally contain the required amount, but it is not always the case. Green leaves, for instance, are rich in vitamin E but extremely poor in fat. They must be eaten together with something containing fat, in order for you to be able to absorb the vitamin properly. A spoon of olive oil is sufficient; or take a few nuts to the green leaves.
I have previously explained about The Importance of Dietary Solvents. It is important for proper nutrition to understand the role solvents are playing, otherwise you can end up eating nutritious foodstuffs or supplements while remaining unable to absorb and utilize them.)
E-vitamin supplements should be in the form of capsules with oil, so the vitamin is already dissolved in fat. Never take “dry” vitamin-E supplements.
Other articles related to vitamins/nutrients:
Why Dietary Supplements are Needed
Supplements, Getting Them Right: Some Points to Consider
The Importance of Dietary Solvents
Iron & Cancer
Co-Enzyme Q10 & Carnitine
Lutein & Zeaxanthin: Nutrients that Protect Your Eyes from Ageing
Not Only Beta-Carotene: Carotenoids (Carotenes & Xanthophylls)
Salicylic Acid: Is Aspirin a Vitamin?
Vitamin A - Function & Need
Vitamin D – Underrated Vitamin?
Nicotinic Acid, the Real Super Vitamin!
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(The lead image shows vitamin E capsules. Photo by Beverly Buckley/Pixabay, CC0/Public Domain.)
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