The Antioxidant Power of Vitamin E

Spread the love

almonds+hazelnutsAs we continue the series on Nutrients from A to Zinc, we now take a look at vitamin E and all its intricacies. Vitamin E may be one of the most complex of the fat soluble vitamins, as eight naturally occurring forms can be found, including four different tocopherols and four similar tocotrienols, each with alpha, beta, gamma and delta types. The most abundant, active and known form is alpha tocopherol, although each compound has its own unique strengths, biological activity and function.

Vitamin E protects vitamin A, carotene, and vitamin C in foods from oxidative destruction. Its action is enhanced when it is taken with selenium, zinc and glutathione. During digestion, vitamin E is absorbed from the intestines along with fat and bile salts, first into the lymph and then into the blood, which carries it to the liver to be used or stored. Some vitamin E is stored in the fatty tissues and to a lesser degree in the heart, muscles, testes, uterus, adrenal and pituitary glands.

The primary function of vitamin E is as an antioxidant. It serves to scavenge free radicals, thereby preventing the oxidation of unsaturated fats, cell membranes, DNA, and active enzyme sites. Other functions of vitamin E are to modulate the activity of immune and inflammatory cells (prostaglandins) and to inhibit platelet aggregation, therefore enhancing normal blood flow.

Overall, tocotrienols are 40 to 60 times more potent antioxidants than tocopherols. Gamma tocopherol may be more effective than the alpha form as an antioxidant, particularly in bone, joint, muscle and brain health.

Most vitamin E supplements available today consist of only d-alpha tocopherol or the “dl” tocopheryls that are synthetically made. We know that nature produces these various tocopherols and tocotrienols together because of their synergism. Using a mixed form of vitamin E is the best option and provides optimal antioxidant support. Before taking any supplement, please consult with your healthcare practitioner.

Vitamin E is found in butter, egg yolks, milk fat, liver and fresh wheat germ. However, some of the best sources are vegetable and seed or nut oils.

Photo from here, with thanks.

Our Bloggers

  • Paula Gallagher
    Paula Gallagher
    Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
    read more..
  • Margo Gladding
    Margo Gladding
    Margo's impressive knowledge base is the result of a unique blend of educational and professional experience.
    read more..
  • Dr. Neal Barnard
    Dr. Neal Barnard
    Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.
    read more..
  • Joseph Pizzorno
    Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
    Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND is a pioneer of integrative medicine and a leading authority on science-based natural medicine.
    read more..
  • Debi Silber
    Debi Silber
    Debi is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, a personal trainer, and whole health coach.
    read more..
  • Teri Cochrane
    Teri Cochrane
    Teri is a is a Certified Coach Practitioner with extensive certifications and experience in holistic medicinal practices.
    read more..
  • Dr. Rav Ivker
    Dr. Rav Ivker
    Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
    read more..
  • Susan Levin
    Susan Levin
    Susan writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
    read more..
  • Rob Brown
    Dr. Rob Brown
    Dr. Brown's blended perspective of healthcare includes a deeply rooted passion for wellness and spiritual exploration.
    read more..
February 2023