Vitamin E is not a single organic chemical compound but a group of 8 organic compounds which performs certain biological functions. The organic compounds fall under tocopherols and tocotrienols. The most common forms forms of this vitamin are γ-tocopherol and α-Tocopherol. This is a fat soluble vitamin, and are present in good amounts in most edible oils. It is a very power antioxidant, neutralizes the harmful free radicals and prevents the generation of reactive oxygen species.
Vitamin E – Sources
It is present in most edible oils and sometimes even fortified in oils as it is fat soluble. The significant sources of vitamin E are wheat germ oil, sunflower, safflower oil, papaya, mangoes, kiwifruit and broccoli.
Biological Functions of Vitamin E
Tocopherol is a very important vitamin and performs some important biological functions like:
- Acts as a stong antioxidant. It has a scavenging effect on peroxyl radicals/li>
- Acts as an enzymatic regulator of many protein synthesizing enzymes
- Affects Gene expression
- Important for neurological funtions
It was previously believed that vitamin E is important for proper heart health and other cardio-vascular functions, however recent research shows that this vitamin did not reduce the risk of cardio-vascular diseases.
Vitamin E- Deficiency
Vitamin E deficiency can result in various symptoms and diseases like spinocerebellar ataxia (a disease affecting the central nervous system), myopathy, peripheral neuropathy, retinopathy and another major problem created because of vitamin E deficiency is an impairment of the immunity.
Vitamin E– Requirements and supplements
On an average for a normal individual the daily requirement of Vitamin E is 15 mg/day. Recent researches are clearly breaking the misconception that vitamin E can reduce mortality, the fact is it might increase mortality if taken in excess and might actually increase cardio-vascular problems. So it is important to consume correct dosage of vitamin E. Vitamin E supplements are not necessary if sufficient oil (oils like olive, sunflower and safflower oils) is consumed
Vitamin E over a certain limit can become toxic as well. So if you are going for a vitamin supplement read more about the risks involved using a supplement.