Vitamin E For Everything
How You Can Use Vitamin E To
- Slow Aging
- Protect Your Brain
- Prevent Heart Disease
- Lower Cancer Risk
- Enhance Immunity
Today, vitamin E is often linked with cardiovascular health. However, when it comes to this vitamin, heart health is just the beginning.
Worldwide studies suggest that vitamin E may help prevent premature aging, slow mental deterioration, bolster immunity, support eye health, reduce the risk of cancer, and prevent or alleviate osteoarthritis. In addition, it can relieve leg cramps, encourage wound healing, deter AIDS, and improve the skin.
Research shows that vitamin E, a fat soluble vitamin, can help in preventing, managing, and even treating the following diseases and conditions: asthma and allergies, menopause, the effects of pollution (particularly on the lungs), and diabetes.
In addition, vitamin E does double duty in our bodies. Besides its vitamin related functions, vitamin E is also a premier antioxidant. Certainly, vitamin E has earned the name “Vitamin Everything”.
Look Inside And Find Out About The Life Long Benefits Of Taking
Topic: VITAMIN E
A news release in April, 2009, announced that Italian scientists have identified a new member of the vitamin E family. It is extracted from the kiwifruit! In fact, this novel nutrient is found mainly in the kiwi skins. On the other hand, straight vitamin E is already known to occur in the pulp. Very rarely found in fruits, the avocado is the only other known fruit source. – HYPERLINK “http://www.nutraingredients.com” www.nutraingredients.com
How You Can Use Vitamin E To
• Slow Aging
• Protect Your Brain
• Prevent Heart Disease
• Lower Cancer Risk
• Enhance Immunity
Look Inside And Find Out About
The Life Long Benefits Of Taking Vitamin E….
Today, vitamin E is often linked with cardiovascular health. However, when it comes to this vitamin, heart health is just the beginning. Worldwide studies suggest that vitamin E may help prevent premature aging, slow mental deterioration, bolster immunity, support eye health, reduce the risk of cancer, and prevent or alleviate osteoarthritis. In addition, it can relieve leg cramps, encourage wound healing, deter AIDS, and improve the skin.
Research shows that vitamin E, a fat soluble vitamin, can help in preventing, managing, and even treating the following diseases and conditions: asthma and allergies, menopause, the effects of pollution (particularly on the lungs), and diabetes. In addition, vitamin E does double duty in our bodies. Besides its vitamin related functions, vitamin E is also a premier antioxidant. Certainly, vitamin E has earned the name “Vitamin Everything”.
There are two conditions that are characterized by vitamin E deficiency: fat malabsorption syndromes and hereditary disorders of red blood cells. Fat malabsorption syndromes include celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and post gastrectomy syndrome. When fat cannot be properly absorbed (and this includes vitamin E), the lack profoundly affects the central nervous system, causing loss of muscular coordination (a condition called ataxia) and loss of feeling in the fingers and toes. Patients receiving large doses of vitamin E may experience a halt in the progression of their disease.
The second condition, hereditary disorders of the red blood cells, includes sickle cell disease and thalasssemia. The latter is the name give to a group of hereditary blood disorders. Vitamin E supplementation is necessary in some types of this disease.
Deficiency can also be a problem for infants. Two groups of infants are at risk: premature infants with low stores of the vitamin at birth and those infants with problems absorbing fats. Because infants can be especially vulnerable to the blood thinning property of vitamin E, supplementation should be used only under a pediatrician’s supervision.
In normal adults, general deficiency symptoms include nerve damage, muscle weakness, poor coordination, involuntary movement of the eyes, and the breaking of red blood cells, leading to hemolytic anemia.
What’s The X-Factor?
In an online article, reporters ask, “Could vitamin E be the ‘X-Factor’, the nutrient key to a long and healthy life?” Perhaps. According to an article in JAMA (2008; 299:308-15), the physical abilities of older people with low levels of vitamin E decline more rapidly than those with healthier levels. In a 3-year study of 698 women and men over 65, researchers looked at this decline relative to certain nutrients. Folic acid, vitamin D, iron, the B vitamins, and vitamin E were tracked. Only too little vitamin E appeared to hasten physical decline.
Along the same lines, a recent study involves upper respiratory infections. Published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, it is the first study to demonstrate a benefit from 200 IU of vitamin E against colds in 65 year old persons.
Meanwhile, in an ongoing study at the National Institute of Aging, a combination of vitamin E and selenium supplements is being investigated. Animal and tissue culture studies using vitamin E and selenium together suggest that they can protect brain cells from damage. Researchers are interested in how safe and effective the combination may be in preventing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other brain illnesses. Both of these nutrients are potent antioxidants. Although the causes of AD are not known, it is believed that oxidative stress is a factor in brain cell damage. Many studies of AD show increased oxidation of brain lipids (fats), proteins, carbohydrates (sugars), and DNA.
This NIA clinical trial (called PREADVISE) involves only male participants over the age of 60. This is because the same nutrient combo was being investigated for its effectiveness in preventing prostate cancer in a parallel study conducted through the National Cancer Institute. (More below.) The brain protection study is scheduled to conclude in 2012.
Last, we review research conducted at the Gerontology Laboratory, Bangalore University in India and reported in the Scientific World Journal in 2009. In this article, several studies support combining vitamin E (as d-alpha-tocoperol) with exercise. Indications are that the supplement and physical activity work synergistically to slow cognitive decline from as early as middle age. There is evidence that exercise conserves the brain neurotransmitter acetylcholine, while vitamin E functions in its antioxidant capacity. These conclusions support other studies in which exercise alone can slow cognitive decline. (See Nutrition News, “Move It! Or Lose It!”)
Tell Me More
In 1922, researchers at Cal Berkeley conducted an experiment that led to the discovery of vitamin E. When labora-tory animals were put on a special diet of basic nutrients but without whole foods, they were unable to reproduce. Adding lettuce and later wheat germ, solved the problem. Something was missing and the missing substance was classified as a vitamin. It was called vitamin E simply because vitamins A – D were taken. The vitamin E active substance was named tocopherol from the Greek tocos (to bring forth) and pherein (childbirth).
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin found mainly in nut and seed oils. While most other vitamins function as enzyme cofactors, vitamin E does not. Deficiency diseases of the cofactor vitamins, such as scurvy, pellagra, and rickets, develop rapidly. This is because without the vitamin there is an immediate malfunction in the particular enzyme system it supports. On the other hand, the effects of inadequate vitamin E intake appear to develop over a lifetime, killing slowly with degenerative disease, such as heart disease or cancer.
In the 80-plus years since the discovery of tocopherol, researchers have found that vitamin E as it occurs in nature is a family of eight related compounds, not just one. These compounds consist of four tocopherols and four constituents called tocotrienols. Each of these occurs in alpha, beta, gamma, and delta types. All eight have powerful antioxidant properties.
Because the body is predisposed to use alpha-tocopherol, for a long time it was believed that this was the only active form for humans. The other tocopherols were known but were considered extraneous to human nutrition. Most natural vitamin E supplements still contain only alpha tocopherol.1 Some contain “mixed tocopherols” (all the tocopherols are present, but no tocotrienols). A number of brands containing “complete vitamin E” are available.
The Complete E
New research implies that supplying all the tocopherols provides greater health benefits. For example, research indicates that gamma-tocopherol may be more effective than alpha at fighting a particular type of free radical called a nitrogen radical. Nitrogen radicals are thought to contribute to the development of arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and diseases of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s. Gamma-tocopherol also appears to help the body eliminate sodium, bringing support for healthy blood pressure.
It is not surprising to learn that the addition of tocotrienols enhances vitamin E’s effects. To date, two supportive functions have been reported: 1) decreasing cholesterol formation and 2) preventing and treating atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the plaque build-up which causes hardening and narrowing of the arteries. This leads to high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. (Cholesterol plays a part in the formation of plaque.) In particular, tocotrienols appear to slow down the liver’s synthesis of cholesterol.
Secondly, an ongoing clinical trial suggests that supplementation with tocotrienols may slow narrowing of the carotid arteries (arteries which carry blood to the face and brain). This is directly related to both heart attack and stroke risk.
A Closer Look At Cancer
When it comes to cancer, breast cancer is the biggest concern of women and prostate cancer the greatest concern of men. Regarding breast cancer, vitamin E alone (as alpha-tocopherol acetate) has no effect on cancer cells. On the other hand, other forms of vitamin E found in food (such as gamma tocopherol and tocotrienols) may be responsible for providing the dramatic protective effect against breast cancer shown in surveys that evaluate total vitamin E intake. Tocotrienols added to cultures have been shown to inhibit the growth of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer cells by as much as 50%. More importantly, studies show that women who consume foods high in other forms of vitamin E substantially reduce their risk of contracting breast cancer (by as much as 90%).2 In addition, studies suggest that tocotrienols may also be helpful in inhibiting other types of cancer cells and may also inhibit some carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).
The government sponsored SELECT study used vitamin E (400 IU as alpha-tocopherol) and selenium (200 mcg) supplements to see if one or both of these substances could help prevent prostate cancer. Although scheduled to complete in 2012, the study was concluded early because of a lack of results. After seven years, neither the combination nor either of the nutrients used alone, prevented the occurrence of prostate cancer in the subjects. More than 32,000 men over 50 participated in the study.
Oddly, the famous 1998 Finnish Study, a major clinical trial with 29,000 participants, showed that men taking vitamin E alone for 6 years had 32 percent fewer cases of prostate cancer and 41 percent fewer deaths from the disease.
Skin cancer protection is implied by other vitamin E research. These studies indicate that tocotrienols – in combination with tocopherols (the whole vitamin E) – provide a wider spectrum of support to the skin, helping it cope with UV radiation and environmental pollutants. In addition, the topical application of toco-trienols helps fight skin damage by penetrating to the deepest layers of skin cells while sparing the vitamin E already there. Sunscreen products containing tocotrienols are on the market.
This just in: Researchers from The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center recently found that increased Vitamin E intake can cut the risk of lung cancer by more than half.
The Heart of the Matter
In the 1940s, the pioneering Canadian medical doctors Wilfrid E. Shute and Evan V. Shute prescribed vitamin E therapy to their at risk heart patients. Over several decades, the Shutes successfully treated over 30,000 patients. Although they were highly esteemed physicians when they began this work, as has been the fate of many scientific pioneers, they were later shunned by their colleagues for quackery.
Perhaps the Shutes’ best revenge occurs in the following story, involving a high school science project. A student asked 181 physicians (members of the prestigious American College of Cardiology) what practices they were personally following to prevent heart attack. He found that the cardiologists were five times more likely than lay persons to take vitamin E supplements. The startling results of his survey were later published in the American Journal of Cardiology.
Some results from the famed Harvard University studies of health practitioners also appeared in the American Journal of Cardiology. The participants were 130,000 doctors and nurses. It was determined that many of these professionals were also taking vitamin E for heart health. According to the study, the group with the highest vitamin E intake registered 40 percent fewer heart attacks.
Another large study involving 34,000 elderly women and conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. These researchers found a 62 percent lower risk of heart attack in the group with the highest E intake. These are just two examples of the 1000s of published studies supporting the conclusion that vitamin E lessens heart attack risk.
Two conditions in particular predispose those who have them to heart attack risk greater than the norm. They are people on dialysis and people with diabetes. Among people who receive dialysis regularly, the death rate from heart and other circulatory problems is 5-20 times higher than the general population. One study evaluated the effects of taking 800 IU of vitamin E daily. The results, reported in Lancet (a prestigious British medical journal), showed a 70 percent reduction in heart disease among these patients.3
Those with diabetes have a 4-fold higher risk of heart attack. There is strong evidence that inflammation accelerates the formation of plaque and blood clots. (Inflammation plays a key role in a set of disorders that include type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease – collectively called meta-bolic syndrome.) C-reactive protein levels are used as an indicator of inflammation and of high risk for heart disease.
In a study appearing in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, people with type 2 diabetes were matched with healthy controls. Both groups were given 1200 IU of natural vitamin E daily. Researchers found that inflammation markers were lowered in both groups. This study demonstrates yet another major role of vitamin E in preventing heart attack.
Scientists have established that the oxidation of LDLs (the “bad” cholesterol) triggers the build-up of plaque in artery walls. Over time, plaque build-up narrows the arteries making it difficult for oxygen-rich blood to get to the heart. Further, pieces of plaque can break off, clogging an artery and causing a heart attack. This process (atherosclerosis) causes the majority of heart attacks.
Vitamin E inhibits the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. The classic study revealing this finding was published in the Journal of Lipid Research (Jialal and Grundy). LDL oxidation can be lowered further by combining E with vitamin C and the carotenoids (beta carotene and its colorful relatives – lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin).
Food sources of vitamin E are wheat germ oil, wheat germ, egg yolk, butter, most vegetable oils, liver, nuts (particularly almonds), whole wheat and whole wheat flour, and leafy green vegetables. It is also found in avocados and kiwi fruit. Because we know that in nature vitamin E is a complex of eight nutrients, it is important to incorporate the vitamin E source foods into our diets.
The current RDA/RDI is only 8-10 IU. This is far below the amounts commonly used to achieve therapeutic results. The Institute of Medicine has set an upper intake level for vitamin E at 1500 IU, and states that the health risk of too much vitamin E is low. Unlike other fat soluble vitamins (A, D, and K), the body releases vitamin E much like C and B complex, which are water soluable.
Writing in his New Vitamin Bible, Earl Mindell, RPh, PhD, reports that selenium potentizes vitamin E, when taken 25 mcg per 200 IU of E. He also reports that the most commonly used doses range from 200 IU to 1200 IU daily, recommending the dry form for people who don’t tolerate oil well and for those over 40.
A number of studies show that vitamin E capsules need to be taken with a meal or food containing fat for best absorption. In addition, vitamin E is a blood thinner and according to Mindell (a pharmacist), people taking coumadin should limit their supplementation to 400 IU.
As we go to press, “complete E” – containing all eight vitamin E components – is becoming the norm. If you can’t find the complete form, look for vitamin E with mixed tocopherols and, if necessary, purchase the tocotrienols separately. These nutrients are often included in formulas containing alpha lipoic acid and/or co-enzyme Q10.
1 “Natural” describes vitamin E which is derived from food sources, often soy, corn, or rice, as opposed to synthetic which is produced from petrochemicals. The itamin E from these sources will appear on the label ingredients as d-alpha tocopherol. Studies have shown that natural E has 36 times more potency than the synthetic type. On the other hand, biochemist and allergy research specialist Stephen Levine, PhD, has found that people with allergies to a particular natural vitamin E source usually do better on the synthetic version, dl-alpha tocopherol. Inexpensive supplements may contain the synthetic form. Be sure to check the label before you buy.
2 If you are interested in more information about this subject, check the following http://www.lef.org/magazine. Search vitamin E and breast cancer. Several years ago, Michele Marrow, MD, Lake Forest University School of Medicine, compiled and analyzed the large volume of published data about this topic. Her findings were published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in 2002. Use the site to read Dr. Marrow’s overview of her study.
3 One reason for this is the antioxidant capacity of vitamin E. According to the American Journal of Kidney Disease, dialysis involves a high level of free radical formation, resulting in a number of negative side effects. The use of vitamin E can significantly suppress this occurrence without affecting the ability of the cells to produce needed proteins.
Nutrition News „ 2009 VOL XXXIII, No. 7