Vitamin E is essential for our body and can only be ingested through diet. Find out here why we need it and how we can best absorb it.
Vitamin E is an important component of all animal cells and is located in the membrane. A total of eight substances are defined as vitamin E: four of them are referred to as tocopherols, the other four tocotrienols. The α-tocopherol is the most active and is an antioxidant. It protects our cell from oxidation. Without tocopherol, free radicals would attack the double bonds of the fatty acids in the membranes.
Although the fat-soluble vitamin is essential for us, our body cannot produce it itself. It is only produced by organisms that carry out photosynthesis – i.e. plants and bacteria. In humans, vitamin E is found in the liver, adrenal glands, heart, skeletal muscle, adipose tissue and testicles.
Katherine S. Bishop and Herbert M. Evans first discovered the fat-soluble properties of vitamin E in the United States in 1922. They noticed that this vitamin was necessary for the fertility of rats. In some animals it has a control function for the gonads. Only in the following years was the substance recognized as a vitamin and called vitamin E. In 1938 the structure of α-tocopherol was clarified.
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According to the current state of knowledge, vitamin E is said to reduce the risk of heart attack, protect us from cancer and Alzheimer’s, prevent deposits in blood vessels, improve blood circulation and even slow down the aging process. It also regulates cholesterol levels and hormonal balance.
A deficiency means that the free radicals cannot be adequately repelled and the cells are damaged. In the long term, the nervous system and skeletal muscles can be damaged. It is therefore desirable to cover the vitamin E requirement.
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The vitamin is best absorbed with fat. Vegetable oils are ideal. Most vitamin E is absorbed through the following 5 oils:
But you can also cover your vitamin E requirements with other foods:
The recommended reference amount of the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) is 12 mg for women and 14 mg for men per day. Pregnant and breastfeeding women have an increased need.
The consumer protection center recommends taking no more than 30mg of vitamin E through dietary supplements; this corresponds to 44 International Units (IU). In addition, it should be noted that some foods are fortified with vitamin E and must be taken into account.
An overdose can reduce the number of thyroid hormones in the blood, in men it can promote the development of prostate cancer and cause a stroke due to cerebral hemorrhage. The intake of dietary supplements should be clarified with the family doctor. Especially since they can interact unfavorably with other medications and dietary supplements.
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