Nutrion Tidbits by Lisa Metzgar, PHd. –  We have reached Vitamin E in our alphabet nutrition.

Vitamin E is a family of vitamins containing alpha, beta, gamma, and delta versions of tocopherols and tocotrienols.  I prefer to just say Vitamin E.  The most studied of these is the alpha-tocopherol.

Vitamin E is a fat soluble antioxidant vitamin.

Antioxidants help protect the body from free radical damage.  The antioxidant reacts with the free radicals formed during chemical reactions in the body and removes them before further damage can occur.  Free radicals, if left unchecked will damage DNA (the building blocks of all our bodies functions)

Vitamin E deficiency (which is rare) will result in poor nerve conduction, weak muscle function, anemia, decrease in cognitive function, impaired vision, and anemia due to oxidative damage to red blood cells.  Immune function declines as well as the cell signaling process in the body which is needed for all metabolic processes.  Deficiency can be caused by fat malabsorption disorders since fat absorption is required for Vitamin E to be utilized.

There has been much controversy surrounding Vitamin E and the need for supplementation.  There is a risk of unborn children developing congenital heart defects, so check with your doctor before supplementing Vitamin E during pregnancy.  Studies have shown that too much Vitamin E supplementation could lead to hemorrhagic strokes, especially in smokers, due to its affect on platelet aggregation. Vitamin E can also react with certain medications. Again, check with your doctor before you take any vitamin supplement above and beyond the recommended allowances.

As I always say …it is best to get your vitamins from your food as it is extremely difficult to get a toxic level of any vitamin by eating.  In healthy ratios, Vitamin E has been shown to decrease heart disease, lower the incidents of Alzheimer’s, improve eye health, improve immunity, and metabolic functions.  It may reduce cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer.

Here is your list of foods that are rich in Vitamin E:

Asparagus
Avocado
Eggs
Mild
Nuts (especially almonds and hazelnuts)
Seeds
Whole grain foods
Spinach and leafy greens
Vegetable oils (unheated)
Wheat germ
Mango
Tomato
Yams
Kiwi
And of course…broccoli which pretty much has everything in it and you should be eating every day!

Hope you are having a happy and healthy summer!

Next month I will be talking about wellness and what that means.

 

 

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