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Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble compounds that exists in 8 different forms (alpha-, beta-gamma-, delta-tocopherols, and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, delta-tocotrienols.    Alpha-tocopherol is recognized as the most active form that meet the requirement of humans.

Extensive research has been dedicated to this form because of its abundance and availability in body.  The liver takes responsibility for facilitating vitamin E post-absorption from the small intestines.  Blood and celluar concentrations of the alpha-form are much higher than its counterparts because the liver has specialized enzymes that secrete alpha-tocopherols upon priority to the other vitamin E forms.


Natural sources of vitamin E can be obtained from foods such as wheat germ, corn, nuts, seed, leafy vegetables like spinach, and vegetable oils to name a few.  Both natural and synthetic Vitamin E supplements are available as a dietary supplement, but synthetic variations are only 50% active in comparison to the natural form.  To distinguish between the two, synthetic forms are often classified DL-alpha-tocopherol, while natural vitamin E is identified as D-alpha-tocopherol.


The major functionality of vitamin E is its ability to maintain a healthy immune system by warding off free radicals with its antioxidant abilities.   Free radicals are detrimental to the cells in our body, and are produced as a by-product during biological oxidation reactions that occur.   Through the spontaneous transfer of electrons, reactive oxygen species are formed, in turn this contributes to the development of carcinogens and other diseases.  As an antioxidant it acts as a reducing agent to limit oxidative damage resulting in free radicals.   Free radicals are reduced because vitamin E undergoes oxidation instead, thus guarding cells from damage.


Vitamin E has been recognized in the importance of the production of red blood cells as well as aid the body to uptake vitamin K.  Deficiencies in vitamin E are sometimes experienced by individuals with the inability to absorb fat.  Symptoms of muscle loss and weakness, and impaired vision and optical motion are signals of one lacking vitamin E.  More serious troubles can occur with chronic deficiency of vitamin E such as liver and kidney dysfunctions, although its rare in North America.


The American Heart Association concluded that vitamin in E taken in excessive quantities can cause harm to the boy, and possible increase the risk of death or the onset of illnesses, that include cardiovascular diseases and cancer.  The recommended dietary allowance for individuals aged 14 and over, including women who are pregnant, is 15 milligrams per day of alpha-tocopherol.  If supplementing with synthetic forms this is equivalent to 33 IU per day, which compares to 22 IU per day of natural vitamin E.  It is highly recommended that a daily dose does not exceed 400 IU without prior consultation with a medical professional.



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