Back to Basics- All about Vitamin E

What is vitamin E?

Vitamin E is a generic term for tocopherols and tocotrienols. There are 8 tocopherols. D- alpha-tocopherol has the most biological activity. It is used to help a variety of health conditions including restless leg syndrome, the prevention of lipid peroxidation, and muscle cramps from exercise. It is also used to  help PMS, menopause, acne, cardiovascular disease, and topically for burns.

Why do we need it?

We need vitamin E for a variety of reasons. It is a fat soluble antioxidant that protects cell membranes from damage. It also protects the liver from fat soluble oxidative damage in addition to protecting nerve and muscle function. Vitamin E is also known for preventing the peroxidation of cholesterol and other lipids. It also prevents platelets from clumping together.

Where do we get it from?

Vitamin E can be obtained from a variety of food sources including:

  • Wheat germ oil
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Corn oil
  • Cod liver oil
  • Olive oil
  • Whole wheat
  • Nuts: pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts

How do I know if I need more of it?

Some of the signs of vitamin E deficiency include:

  • Dry skin
  • Easy bruising
  • Decreased clotting time
  • Fibrocystic diseases
  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy
  • Poor wound healing

Reference: The Nutritional Therapy Association (NTA)