Sources, Daily Requirement and Functions of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is the name of a group of closely related compounds that occurs in nature as fat soluble compounds called “tocopherols” and “tocotrienols”. Out of all the tocopherols, the alpha tocopherol is the most active and potent.

Sources of Vitamin E:

Vitamin E is widely distributed in nature, both in plant sources as well as animal sources. The rich plant sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils (tocopherols are present in sunflower oil, cotton seed oil, safflower oil, wheat germ oil etc. and gamma tocotrienols are present in corn oil and Soya bean oil etc.), nuts, cereals and foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Fruits and vegetables contain small amount of vitamin E.  Rich animal source of vitamin D includes meat, egg (mainly egg yolk), butter, milk etc.

Daily Requirement of Vitamin E:

Daily recommended dose of vitamin E or RDA (recommended daily allowance) is dependent on the amount of essential fatty acids we consume. The more essential fatty acid consumption the more is the requirement of vitamin E. But the requirement is about 0.8mg/gram of essential fatty acid consumption. RDA is 15 mg/ day and the requirement is higher if more polyunsaturated fat is consumed.

Functions of vitamin E:

Vitamin E acts as a chain breaking antioxidant and is efficient in removing the chemicals that protects low density lipoproteins (LDLs) and polyunsaturated fats in membranes from oxidation. Other antioxidants like vitamin C helps to keep vitamin E in remaining reduced state. Vitamin E also inhibits synthesis of prostaglandins. Vitamin E is essential for optimal skin health.

Other Advantages of Vitamin E:

There are many other advantages of vitamin E, but these advantages can not be proved strongly. Vitamin E at high dose may prevent retrolental fibroplasia (opacity of cornea in premature infants due to administration of pure 100% oxygen after delivery or birth), bronchopulmonary dysplasia and intraventricular hemorrhage of premature infants. Vitamin E is supposed to have aphrodisiac effect. Vitamin E is also used in treatment of slowing aging process and intermittent claudication. High doses (60–800 mg/d) of vitamin E have been shown to improve immune function and to reduce colds in nursing home residents. When vitamin E is combined with other antioxidants, it can prevent macular degeneration of eye.

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