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Vitamin E (Tocopherol)

Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Description and Overview:

Vitamin E is the thought to be the most effective antioxidant known to function in the body. Vitamin E actually identifies a group of fat soluble compounds known as tocopherols and tocotrienols.

The most vital function vitamin E performs is helping to stabilize cell membranes and guarding against damage to body tissues caused by oxidation. Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant which protects against damage caused by free radicals, which can contribute to cardiovascular disease and cancer. When applied to skin, vitamin E creams are thought to promote healing and protect the skin from damage. Vitamin E deficiency can impact the central nervous system and could result in progressive neuromuscular disorders resulting in impaired reflexes, muscular weakness, and loss of balance. A deficiency can also lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Read more about the benefits and functions of vitamin E and signs of vitamin E deficiency.

Vitamin E can be obtained from a variety of common foods, including vegetable oils (such as soybean, corn, and cottonseed oils) and products which contain these oils), wheat germ, nuts, peanut butter, fish, and green leafy vegetables. Regarding grains, vitamin E is located in the germ of the grain. Whole-wheat flour generally retains a good portion of the original germ, so it can be a good source. On the other hand, refined, or white, flours are generally stripped of most nutrients, including vitamin E. Read more about sources of vitamin e and the daily requirement of vitamin e.

The risk of vitamin E toxicity is low, however some side effects have been observed related to large doses of vitamin E including headaches, nausea, double vision, weakness and gastrointestinal problems. Read more about vitamin E overdose.


Vitamin E actually refers to a family of compounds consisting of four tocopherols and four tocotrienols, each identified as alpha, beta, gamma, or delta depending on small differences in their chemical structures.

Alpha-tocopherol is the most active form of the vitamin for the human body, and is the only type actively maintained in the bloodstream, and thus, is the form found in the largest quantities in the human body. In the general food supply, alpha-tocopherol consists of about three-quarters of the total vitamin E. Gamma-tocopherol consists of about 20%, and beta-tocopherol and alpha-tocotrienol combined consist of the other 5%.

Approximately 90% of the vitamin E that is stored in the human body is found in adipose tissues, with the other 10% stored in cell membranes. The absorption of vitamin E into body tissues is a slow process. Reserach has indicated that, at minimum, two years of supplementation would be needed before a change in tocopherol concentrations could be observed.

Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Articles:

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More Information:

Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Benefits, Functions, Signs of Deficiency

Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Daily Requirement, Dietary Sources



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