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Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Benefits and Signs of Deficiency

Benefits and Functions of Vitamin E (Tocopherol):

Vitamin E (Tocopherol) is thought to be the most effective fat-soluble antioxidant nutrient which acts in the human body. Antioxidants serve the vital function of protecting cells and body tissues against oxidation damage caused by free radicals. Damage caused by free-radical can lead to a variety of diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancers.

Certain cancers are thought to occur due to oxidative damage to DNA caused by free radicals. This damage to the DNA can result in mutations in cells that could ultimately lead to cancer. Antioxidants like vitamin E help limit the damage caused by free radicals.

Vitamin E helps to guard against heart disease through lowering the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol.

It plays an important role in the maintainence of the integrity and stability of cellular membranes. It is particularly effective at protecting and maintaining the cells of the skin, eyes, and liver.

It functions to aid in the formation of red blood cells, muscles, and other body tissues.

Vitamin E skin creams are thought to help heal and protect the skin free-radical damage and can help reduce itching and dryness.


Signs of Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Deficiency:

Vitamin E (Tocopherol) is abundant in foods, and therefore a dietary deficiency of Vitamin E is extremely rare in humans. However, a vitamin E deficiency may occur in two situations: in premature, low birth weight babies and in people who not absorb or metabolize fat normally (such as people with people with Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, or those who have abetalipoproteinemia - a disorder which causes poor absorption of dietary fat.

A deficiency of vitamin E can ultimately lead to nervous system problems and damage to nerves. This can result in impaired reflexes, weakness of the muscles, poor balance, and and an inability to coordinate voluntary movements.

Vitamin E deficiency may also be a contributing factor to heart disease, including atherosclerosis, and an increased risk of developing some types of cancer.

Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Toxicity, Overdose:

The dosage at which vitamin E can cause toxicity is 1000 mg a day, which is 1500 IU aday for natural vitamin E, or 1000 IU a day of synthetic vitamin E.

Some side effects have been reported related to large doses of vitamin E (more than 2000 IU), including tiredness, digestive problems, nausea, and headaches.

Dosages of more than 800 IU per day of vitamin E may disrupt the body's blood clotting ability, which could affect people who take blood thinners (anticoagulants).

More Information:

Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Overview

Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Daily Requirement, Dietary Sources



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