vitamin E

Foods rich in vitamin E

  • Anti-oxidant and preservative as useful in antioxidant therapy and lipid membrane repair
    • prevents oxidative damage to fatty acids (peroxidation) in body cell (phospholipids) membranes
    • cells at high risk from oxidative damage cells  include:
      • erythrocytes (red blood cells)
      • neurons (nervous system)
      • lung epithelium (lining of the lungs)
  • Heart protective – protecting the heart from damage caused by chemotherapy when combined with vitamin A and vitamin C
  • Vitamin E protects vitamin A and promotes its storage
  • Treats:
    • Immunosuppression and autoimmune disorders
    • Alzheimer’s Disease (helps to clear inflammatory toxic plaque in the brain)
    • Neuropathy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Tardive dyskinesia
    • Intermittent claudication (circulatory issue involving severely reduced blood flow to the extremities)
    • Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation disorders
    • Macular Degeneration (caused by toxic load in eyes: NB smoking can cause this)
    • Infertility, Myopathy, Diabetes, Periodontal Disease
Sources notes
  • Best sources in plant and seed oils
  • Content in food lowered through heat and food processing
  • Vitamin C restores vitamin E to its normal antioxidant state: best to take together (1+1=3)
Vegetable Sources spinach; asparagus; carrots; peas; tomato
Fruit Sources Banana, Avocado
Nut and seed sources Sunflower seeds and oil; safflower oil; almonds; sesame seed and sesame oil; peanuts and peanut oil; corn oil; wheat germ; brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds; pecans; walnuts
Absorption and function notes
  • Vitamin E acts as preservative preventing lipid oxidation
  • More is required when intake of polyunsaturated fats is increased due to the volatility of those fats and ease by which they can turn rancid / be subject to lipid oxidation
  • Fat soluble – fat enhances absorption
Deficiency factors
  • Huge range of actions attributed to this vitamin – deficiency disrupts any physiologic processes that depend on the integrity of the cell membrane
  • Symptoms: weakness; poor coordination; susceptibility to infections; poor wound healing; fatigue
  • Infant deficiency: impacts nervous system (reduced or absent deep tendon reflexes)
  • One of the safest vitamins
  • Vitamin E and aspirin combined may increase gum bleeding

Adapted from:

Murray, M. (2005). Encyclopedia of Healing Food. New York, N.Y.: Atria Books

Bland, J., Costarella, L., Levin, B., Liska, D., Lukaczer, D., Schlitz, B., Schmidt, M., Lerman, R., Quinn, S., Jones, D. (2004). Clinical Nutrition: A Functional Approach, Second Edition. Gig Harbor, WA: The Institute for Functional Medicine.

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