People have always dreamed of an anti-aging supplement that keeps them young and healthy for years enjoying the strength of their youth. Myths and rumors spread almost everywhere about a recipe, a magical fluid, or a rarely growing herb that can make the dream of immortality come true. After Vitamin E was first discovered in 1923, it was believed that the puzzle for finding a cure for mortality is finally solved. However, the opposite has been proven; excessive intake of vitamin E can be associated with severe conditions such like prostate cancer and excessive bleeding due to the fact that Vitamin E is an anticoagulant.
Vitamin E overdose
Vitamin E level of human body should not exceed 1500 IU/day (1000mg/day) This is the tolerable limit of vitamin E a person can take. An increase to that limit can cause hypervitaminosis E (intoxication of Vitamin E); a condition in which the body stores excessive amounts of Vitamin E that can reach poisoning levels.
Recommended intake of Vitamin E is 22.5 IU (15mg) for adult males and females above 14 years of age; for pregnant women, it is 22.5 IU too, and for nursing mothers it is 28.5 IU (20mg).
Vitamin E amazing Functions
I have mentioned earlier that Vitamin E possesses antioxidant properties, meaning that it interferes with oxidative processes taking place in the body. The oxidation reactions basically generate free radicals that are highly reactive and cause destruction of body tissues. So what vitamin E does is that, it stops the hazardous destruction of the body by these highly reactive oxygen species.
Vitamin E maintains the health of tissues in body by stabilizing the cell membranes of different cells throughout the body. Vitamin E prevents oxidation of these cell membranes.
Vitamin E types
Vitamin E is not a single vitamin; it is a family of vitamins, including compounds known as Tocopherols and Tocoretinols; each of the tocotrienols and tocopherols compounds of vitamin E has alpha-, beta-, gamma- , and delta- isomers . Isomers are compounds that share the same molecular formula but have different atom arrangement (same ingredients but different shapes).
Sometimes vitamin E is also referred to as tocopherol since the alpha form of tocopherol (α-tocopherol) is the most active form of vitamin E in human body.
Each of the eight different isomers of Vitamin E has its own characteristics and functional properties which I feel it is important to talk about within more details:
– Alpha-tocopherols (α-tocopherols). These vitamin E isomers are present in abundance in human body. They are the most active form vitamin E in the human body and have significant effects on the body tissues; alpha-tocopherols are therefore mentioned in supplements as ATEs which stand for Alpha Tocopherol Equivalents.
Sunflower oil, olive oil, safflower oil, and wheat germ oil are rich sources of alpha tocopherol. This isomer of vitamin E may be seen as an ingredient in different edible sources using the E number “E307”. E number is the code used for these vitamins when they are used as food additives.
Alpha tocopherol is consumed mainly in the form of soybean and corn oil in in the US. It is the abundant form of vitamin E consumed in the states.
– Beta-tocopherols (β- tocopherols) are compounds that have a little less anti oxidant activity as compared to alpha- tocopherols. The formula for beta-tocopherol is C28H48O2.
– Gamma-tocopherol (γ-tocopherol) is another compound in the Vitamin E family. This compound has an E number of “E308” and its molecular formula is C28H48O2. Gamma-tocopherol is a nucleophile (chemical species attracting positive charges towards themselves) that reacts with electrophilic (positively charged species that are attracted towards nucleophiles) mutagens. Mutagens are those substances that can cause change in the DNA of the body cells increasing the chances of cells to get cancer, which is a very mazing function of gamma-tocopherol.
Gamma tocopherol is found in corn oil, margarine, and soybean oil. This isomer of vitamin is also absorbed very well in the human body.
– Delta-tocopherol (δ-tocopherol) is found in food additives with E number E309 and it has a molecular formula of C27H46O2. This isomer is available in the lowest concentrations in food.
Both gamma and delta tocopherols play roles in preventing cancers.
– Alpha-tocotrienol (α-tocotrienols)is another isomer of vitamin E which has a molecular formula of C29H44O2. This isomer is found in palm oils.
– Beta-tocotrienols (β-tocotrienols) have a molecular formula of C28H42O2 , and Gamma- tocotrienols (γ-tocotrienols) are rarely found forms of vitamin E. The molecular formula of delta-tocotrienols (δ-tocotrienols) is C27H40O2.
Vitamin E rich food and sources also include almonds, peanuts, asparagus, Brussels, Brazil nuts, avocados, olives, pumpkins, rapeseed oils and many others.
Adequate amounts of Vitamin E should be taken in diet to prevent infertility, hair loss, tingling sensations in hands and feet, muscle weakness, age spots, vascular problems involving arteries, and eye problems.
Vitamin E benefits don’t end there. Vitamin E can also be used for treating diabetes plus its related complications and preventing cancers for instance prostate cancers, yes, the same prostate cancer which can be caused due to the excessive consumption of Vitamin E. Also when it comes to treating patients with diabetes and heart disease; they are advised to not exceed their dosage from 400IU/day.
Vitamin E is also good for combating Alzheimer’s disease and dementias. Dementias are symptoms that evolve when cognitive function of the brain is affected with manifestation of memory loss, language and attention problems.
Vitamin E is also good for females with preeclampsia, which is a serious disorder seen in late pregnancies. Also, Vitamin E works to improve respiratory infections, treat asthma and to some extent treat cataract (eye disease with cloudy lens), allergies, and peptic ulcers.
Vitamin E levels for different age groups are different. Dietary sources for replenishing body levels of Vitamin E are preferred over the intake of a supplement as the supplements may cause undesirable side effects.
For people who have impaired Vitamin E absorption, supplements may be prescribed by practitioners; the dosages of which are clearly monitored and tapered according to requirements.