Veterinarian Reviewed on May 31, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopherol succinate)
Vitamin E is the collective name for fat-soluble vitamins that have very distinct antioxidant properties. Because the vitamins are fat soluble, the body doesn’t eliminate then in urine, but stores them in the fat. This means you can accumulate them to the point of toxicity. Tocopherol (Often listed as d-alpha tocopherol succinate) is the most active form of the vitamin.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight free radicals. Elements like to have electrons in pairs. Free radicals have one extra electron. In order to pair it, they seek the electron of cell membranes. Normally this membrane is soft and allows waste to flow out and nutrition to flow into the cell. However, if a free radical steels an electron, it changes the chemical composition to a hard shell. This means the waste of the cell traps inside and no food can enter. The cell eventually dies and this causes aging and disease. Antioxidants offer up one of their electrons and protect the cell membrane from damage.
Origin of Vitamin E
Vitamin E is in many different plants but the highest concentration is in wheat germ oil, dry roasted almonds and sunflower seeds. However, many other nuts and nut butters, such as peanut butter, also contain high amounts of vitamin E. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach contain high amounts of the vitamin as do broccoli. While mango and kiwi contain less, they are also a significant source of vitamin E. Corn, soybean and canola oil also contain vitamin E. Eggs and organ meats are also a good source.
Historical Uses of Vitamin E
Many people take vitamin E to remain healthy or maintain their youth. Several years ago, the press called vitamin E the miracle vitamin that warded off aging. Well part of the hype is true. Because of its antioxidant properties, vitamin E does stop free radicals from destroying or changing cells. By doing this, it slows premature aging.
Besides being a powerful antioxidant, scientists now show that vitamin E can help protect and slow the progression of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Some studies show it helps prevent atherosclerotic plaque, a leading cause of heart disease. Other new studies show that vitamin E can also ward off steatohepatitis (NASH) a precursor to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer found in obese people and not associated with alcohol consumption.
Vitamin E also is important to aid in the body’s production of red blood cells. It improves circulation and aids the body in the use of vitamin K. It helps to aid in the process of healing and can prevent scarring in many cases.
Vitamin E is widely accepted as an aid to the reduction of age related elevated blood pressure. It also can help prevent cataracts and muscle cramps. When used in a cream, it also helps prevent and reduce age spots on the skin.
You need vitamin E to maintain a healthy nervous system, strong muscles, the development of healthy hair and skin. Vitamin E also aids in the prevention of anemia.
Overdoses of Vitamin E
While there are few reported cases of vitamin E overdose, it can happen since it is fat soluble and you don’t eliminate it, but store it. The first signs of an overdose are fatigue, weakness, headaches and nausea. You might have diarrhea, gas or abdominal pain. There is a risk of uncontrolled bleeding.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan