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Vitamin E : benefits and where to find it ?

Vitamin E has a particularly strong protective effect on the cells of the body. It plays an important role in the mechanisms of procreation and participates in the synthesis of red blood cells. Discover the role of this vitamin, its recommended nutritional intake, the risks of deficiencies or overdose

Vitamin E

♦ Vitamin E has an anti-oxidant function.

♦ It works in synergy with other nutrients, such as vitamin C, beta-carotene and selenium.

♦ In particular, it protects the lipids that make up cell membranes, as well as LDL lipoproteins (lipoproteins are cholesterol transporters in the blood)

♦ As such, it participates in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

♦ It also helps in the prevention of atherosclerosis (damage to the arteries), by preventing blood platelets from clumping, by exerting an anti-inflammatory action and by stimulating the production of vasodilating substances.

♦ It may be involved in the prevention of AMD (age-related macular degeneration), cataracts and the decline of intellectual faculties with advancing age.
It seems to limit the decline in immune defenses in the elderly.

Vitamin E Nutritional references (recommended nutritional intake)

The daily needed intake depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts are listed below in milligrams (mg).

vitamin E intake

Intense physical activity increases production of free radicals (“oxidative stress”), the recommended intake increases depending on the level of training, it can go up to 24 mg per day 1.

Vitamin E is found naturally in foods and is added to some fortified foods.

  • ♦ Vegetable oils like wheat germ, sunflower, and safflower oils are among the best sources of vitamin E.
  • ♦ Corn and soybean oils.
  • ♦ Nuts (such as peanuts, hazelnuts, and, especially, almonds) and seeds (like sunflower seeds).
  • ♦ Green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli..
  • ♦ Food companies add vitamin E to some breakfast cereals, fruit juices, margarines and spreads, and other foods. 

Good to know:  sensitive to light, to preserve it food should be protected from light.

Risks of deficiency and excess of vitamin E

Deficiency is almost always linked to certain diseases in which fat is not properly digested or absorbed. Examples include Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and certain rare genetic diseases such as abetalipoproteinemia and ataxia with vitamin E deficiency (AVED). It needs some fat for the digestive system to absorb it.

Deficiency can cause nerve and muscle damage that results in loss of feeling in the arms and legs, loss of body movement control, muscle weakness, and vision problems. Another sign of deficiency is a weakened immune system.

It is naturally present in food and beverages is not harmful and does not need to be limited. In supplement form, however, in high doses it might increase the risk of bleeding (by reducing the blood’s ability to form clots after a cut or injury) and of serious bleeding in the brain (known as hemorrhagic stroke). Because of this risk, the upper limit for adults is 1,000 mg/day for supplements of either natural or synthetic vitamin E. This is equal to 1,500 IU/day for natural vitamin E supplements and 1,100 IU/day for synthetic vitamin E supplements. The upper limits for children are lower than those for adults. Some research suggests that taking vitamin E supplements even below these upper limits might cause harm. In one study, for example, men who took 400 IU (180 mg) of synthetic vitamin E each day for several years had an increased risk of prostate cancer.


Medication interaction

Dietary supplements can interact or interfere with certain medicines that you take. Here are some examples:

  • Vitamin E can increase the risk of bleeding in people taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medicines, such as warfarin (Coumadin®).
  • In one study, in addition to other antioxidants (such as vitamin C, selenium, and beta-carotene) reduced the heart-protective effects of two drugs taken in combination (a statin and niacin) to affect blood-cholesterol levels.
  • Taking antioxidant supplements while undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer could alter the effectiveness of these treatments.

Tell your doctor, pharmacist, and other healthcare providers about any dietary supplements and medicines you take. They can tell you if those dietary supplements might interact or interfere with your prescription or over-the-counter medicines

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