About vitamin E
Vitamin E is a natural, lipid(fat)-soluble vitamin of vegetable origin. Vitamin E comprises a group of lipid-soluble substances that are divided as tocopherols and tocotrienols. Vitamin E is primarily in foods that contain fat including nuts, seeds and avocado.
Why do we need to supplement?
Vitamin E may help people with higher exposure to free radicals, including:
- Cigarette smokers
- Those exposed to air pollution, ie people who live in busy cities
- People frequently exposed to ultraviolet rays from sunlight
People with reduced lipid (fat) absorption also have lower absorption of vitamin E in the small intestine as vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin.
How does it work in the body?
Vitamin E is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant. It plays a vital part in protecting our cells from stress and damage caused by free radicals (reactive particles produced by pollution, smoking, alcohol and even our own metabolism). Due to being fat-soluble, vitamin E helps protect cell membranes specifically (which are made up of fat-containing phospholipids).
Vitamin E is carried around in the body in the same way as fat (bound to lipoproteins) and distributed to most tissues. The physiological effect of vitamin E is thought to be related to its role as an antioxidant where the nutrient inhibits the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids. Vitamin E also protects vitamin A against being degraded, allowing the vitamin to work more effectively.
Benefits in Research
Vitamin E is an effective, fat-soluble antioxidant that’s able to protect cells from oxidative stress. Vitamin C (from food or supplements) is able to regenerate vitamin E. When vitamin E neutralizes free radicals, vitamin C is able to ‘refresh’ the vitamin so it can work again and again.
Reduces muscular injury
A recent study concluded that vitamin E supplements could prove useful in treating degenerative muscle conditions due to its antioxidant properties and its contribution to cell membrane repair 1.
The study involved a treatment group (receiving vitamin E) and a placebo control group. Subjects in the treatment group demonstrated lower levels of creatine kinase in the body, vs the control group (creatine kinase being an enzyme which may indicate the degeneration of muscle fibres).
Other benefits linked to vitamin E in this study include a reduction in oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers, important as excessive inflammation is also associated with muscle breakdown.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of significant vision loss in older people and is believed to be caused by oxidative stress. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), a large randomized clinical trial, found that participants at high risk of developing advanced AMD reduced their risk of developing the condition by 25% by taking a daily supplement containing antioxidants, including vitamins E, C and Zinc and beta-carotene 2.
Vitamin E and colorectal cancer risk
Meta-analyses (when a range of studies are collated and analyzed) are perhaps the strongest study type when forming a scientific opinion. A Chinese meta-analysis (published in Medicine) has found a link between vitamin E deficiency and an increased risk of colorectal cancer 3.
The review (detailing studies on almost 6000 subjects) found that colorectal cancer patients were more likely to demonstrate lower serum vitamin E levels than healthy controls. The study also found that those most likely to manifest vitamin E deficiency are Europeans. As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E may help prevent the accumulation of oxidative stress and damage in cells - proposed as a risk factor for cancer development.
Bio-E-Vitamin is a strong vitamin preparation in pharmaceutical quality. It consists of clear, soft gelatin capsules and natural d-a-tocopherol in oil. Each capsule contains approx. 350 mg/525 IU. As with other fat-soluble vitamins, Bio-E-Vitamin should be taken with a meal.
1. Mâncio R, Hermes T, Macedo A, Mizobuti D, Valduga A, Rupcic I et al. Vitamin E treatment decreases muscle injury in mdx mice. Nutrition. 2017;43-44:39-46.
2.Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss: AREDS report no. 8. Arch Ophthalmol 2001;119:1417-36.
3. Dong Y, Liu Y, Shu Y, Chen X, Hu J, Zheng R et al. Link between risk of colorectal cancer and serum vitamin E levels. Medicine. 2017;96(27):e7470.