What is vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and consists of two subgroups: tocotrienols and tocopherols. Tocotrienols are naturally derived from several sources, including rice bran, palm, and annatto, with annatto being the richest source of tocotrienols providing 99% tocotrienol content. Annatto is an orange-red food colouring or condiment made from the seeds of the achiote tree which grows in tropical regions in South and Central America
Health benefits of vitamin E
Vitamin E is important for proper functioning of many of the body’s organs. It helps to maintain healthy skin, good vision, and correct functioning of the immune system. Its main role is to act as an antioxidant to fight off free radical damage. It’s this free radical damage that causes inflammation and risk of inflammatory and chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. It also enhances immune function and prevents clots from forming in arteries of the heart.
Signs & symptoms of vitamin E deficiency:
Because vitamin E is found in a variety of foods and supplements, a deficiency in Australia is rare. People who have digestive disorders or do not absorb fat properly (e.g., pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease) can develop a vitamin E deficiency. The following are common signs of a deficiency:
- Retinopathy (damage to the retina of the eyes that can impair vision)
- Peripheral neuropathy (damage to the peripheral nerves, usually in the hands or feet, causing weakness or pain)
- Ataxia (loss of control of body movements)
- Decreased immune function
Foods rich in vitamin E
Vitamin E is found in plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables including:
- Wheat germ oil
- Sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil
- Sunflower seeds
- Peanuts, peanut butter
- Leafy greens, spinach
- Red capsicum
People with certain chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease may benefit from vitamin E supplementation. Other conditions in which vitamin E may be beneficial includes Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease, preeclampsia and prostate cancer.
When looking for a vitamin E supplement, it’s important to consult your health practitioner and make sure you’re choosing one with tocotrienols for better absorption.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with several forms, but tocotrienols are best in supplement form for absorption. Its main role in the body is to act as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radical damage. It can be used to prevent and treat certain health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, age-related vision diseases and cognitive and neurodegenerative diseases. Always talk to your health practitioner if you’re considering supplementing with vitamin E.
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