Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with numerous forms including alpha-tocopherol even called an antioxidant vitamin. Alpha-tocopherol is only one of the vitamin E forms that are used by the human body. It performed as excellent antioxidants that protect our body from free radicals. It comes to the public in the 1980s when scientists explained the damages of free radicals to health.
The Function of vitamin E
First, it has excellent properties of antioxidants. Hence, it protects body tissue from damage caused by substances called free radicals. Free radical damages the cells, tissues, and organs resultant in certain health effects. Second, It helps keep the immune system strong against viruses and bacteria. Therefore, it enhances immunity function. Third, It helps form red blood cells and widen blood vessels to keep blood from clotting inside them.
Deficiency of vitamin E
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
It is found in plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
- Wheat germ oil
- soybean oil
- Sunflower seeds
- Peanuts, peanut butter
- Beet greens, collard greens, spinach
- Red bell pepper
Recommended Dietary Allowance
The RDA for vitamin E for males and females ages 14 years and older is 15 mg daily (or 22 international units, IU) also for women who are pregnant. Lactating women need slightly more at 19 mg (28 IU) daily.
There is no evidence of toxic effects from vitamin E found naturally in foods. Most adults take more than the RDA of 22 IU daily from a supplement around 400-1000 UI day. Hence, no more harmful side effects of supplement use in healthy people. However, taking greater than 1000UI may be a risk of excess bleeding.