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Vitamin E - Our Most Potent Antioxidant

Posted by Dr Julie Douglass
Vitamin E - Our Most Potent Antioxidant

Vitamin E (alpha Tocopherol) is a fat soluble vitamin responsible for the strength and stability of each and every one of our cell walls. It is also a potent antioxidant.

Vitamin E can assist in reducing LDL cholesterol (the type that puts your heart at risk). It also helps to maintain healthy eggs, or oocytes for female reproduction. Vitamin E is a compound with distinctive antioxidant activities. Antioxidants protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals that come from things such as alcohol, pollution, medications, smoke and even our own natural body processes, including the by-products of our own metabolism. Free radicals damage cells and might contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer *

The main sources of Vitamin E are in the oils of plant foods such as olive oil, wheat germ oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, and sunflower oil. Other good quality plant sources include whole unrefined grains which still contain the bran and germ portions, including whole grain cereals and oats. Avocados, broccoli, carrots, kiwifruit and peaches are also quality sources.

Vitamin E can also be found in the fatty tissues of animal products (as it is a fat soluble vitamin that is stored in the fat of animal meat), however animal products offer an inferior and inconsistent source of Vitamin E, so plant based sources are advised.

A Vitamin E deficiency is rare unless on a very low fat diet. A diet high in Vitamin E may assist in lowering cholesterol and be preventative against heart disease, acne and other skin conditions. Vitamin E is known to be beneficial for wound healing and reduces the formation of scars when applied to the skin. Vitamin E mays also aid in maintaining healthy eyes, particularly in relation to those suffering from cataracts, which may be the result of oxidative damage to proteins of eye lens.

Vitamin E is susceptible to damage and/or destruction during food preparation, food processing and food storage. It is vulnerable to oxidation when exposed to air, light and heat, so purchasing dark, glass containers of the plant oils listed above that contain high amounts of Vitamin E is advised.

Many supplements contain Vitamin E. It is added to protect the integrity of the product and to stop the ingredients within it from oxidising. Supplementing Vitamin E can be an extremely therapeutic tool for fertility, heart health and the wellbeing of the eyes. 

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