Vitamin E Alpha Tocopherol?
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with several forms, but alpha-tocopherol is the only one used by the human body. It is considered the most active natural form because it is the preferred form of vitamin E transported and used by the liver.
Alpha-tocopherol has many important roles in the body. Not only does it participate in making red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body, but it also contributes to maintaining optimal immune function. Moreover, Vitamin E is needed to keep blood from clotting within blood vessels but its main role is to act as an antioxidant in the body, meaning it protects cells against oxidative damage. It therefore protects our body from oxidative stress and may help prevent and treat the symptoms of chronic inflammatory conditions such as diabetes and osteoarthritis.
Tocopherol deficiency can be caused by a condition where nutrients are not properly digested or by a very low-fat diet. A low level of this vitamin can cause many physical and mental side effects. Its deficiency has been associated with Crohn’s disease, a weakened immune system, liver disease, cystic fibrosis, muscle damage, loss of body movement control and vision problems. Furthermore, low levels have been associated with muscle and nerve damage, resulting in loss of body movement control and loss of feeling in the arms and the legs. (NIH office of dietary supplements)
That being said, the consumption of dietary supplements highly dosed with vitamin E is not recommended since excessive amounts of this vitamin can cause harmful effects on the body. Alpha-tocopherol is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it can potentially build up to toxic levels within the body. Even though toxicity is rare, occasionally high levels of vitamin E may cause bleeding, muscle weakness, fatigue, nausea and diarrhea.
Tocopherols are found in almost all plant seeds and the best sources of alpha-tocopherol include vegetable oils (e.g. wheat germ, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, canola, olive, and rice-bran oils), nuts (e.g. almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts), seeds (e.g. sunflower seeds), whole-grains and green vegetables (e.g. spinach, broccoli). Notice that the absorption of vitamin E is enhanced when it is consumed in a meal that contains fat.
Vitamin E alpha-tocopherol helps maintain optimal immune function and optimal blood viscosity, both important factors in an athletes’ ability to train and compete. It is also said to help ease muscle cramps. Athletes have higher needs in vitamin E than sedentary people.
In conclusion, our vitamin E alpha-tocopherol levels impact many aspects of our mental and physical health. In order to make sure that your vitamin E alpha-tocopherol levels are balanced and steady, make sure to test your levels and to evaluate how you can make the right changes to rebalance your body and mind.