Vitamin E: enemy of free radicals

Vitamin E is a collective term used to indicate a series of substances known as tocopherol. For humans, especially alpha tocopherol is important. The other compounds of this group are indicated by the following Greek letters of the alphabet: beta, gamma, delta tocopherol, etc. However, none of these substances is as "active" as alpha-tocopherol. High activity means that only a small amount is needed to perform the same tasks.

Vitamin E protects the cells

We have not yet been able to find out exactly what tasks vitamin E does. In plants, vitamin E functions as an antioxidant. It protects the cells against the harmful influence of aggressive substances. It is believed that vitamin E plays a similar role in the body.
The free radicals are mainly caused by excess oxygen in the cell, by the action of light and also by environmental pollution. They respond with everything they get in their sights and then destroy it. They are particularly fond of unsaturated fatty acids: the building blocks of the cell wall. They 'kill' the fatty acids if they are not protected by vitamin E. Vitamin E offers itself as a volunteer and in this way lures the free radicals away from the building blocks of the cell wall.

What are the consequences of a vitamin E deficiency?

In principle, there are no known deficiency diseases that are caused by a vitamin E deficiency. In some books it is still stated that a vitamin E deficiency can lead to damage to the sexual organs. Although such damage has been observed in rats and mice, they have never been detected in humans.
Since deficiencies are usually the result of alcoholism or a disturbed fat metabolism, it has not yet been possible to discover diseases caused by a vitamin E deficiency. There are usually several causes that can be identified. For example, there can also be a vitamin A deficiency at the same time.
A deficiency of vitamin E often results in a reduced resistance to all kinds of diseases. At first people notice nothing; As soon as years go by, the first symptoms occur, and then the consequences can be serious (cancer and heart disease).

Vitamin E: the more the better

Real deficiency diseases caused by a vitamin E deficiency are not yet known. The result is that we do not know exactly how much vitamin E we need to prevent a deficiency. There is probably no other vitamin in which the recommended amounts constitute such a point of contention as with vitamin E. The individual dietary pattern must be taken into account because large amounts of unsaturated fatty acids increase the vitamin E requirement. The basic need there person has been set at 6 mg vitamin E there day. This value is independent of the influence that unsaturated fatty acids exert.

Therapeutic applications of vitamin E

Research has shown that vitamin E probably plays a role in the prevention of some lifestyle diseases and probably also positively influences the healing process of already outbreaks of diseases. Other tasks remain unclear and the opinions on this vary widely.
  • Prevention of arteriosclerosis: Vitamin E can play a role in the prevention of arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks. There is a link between vitamin E and these diseases. Someone suffering from these diseases should actually swallow a large amount of vitamin E (more than 200 mg per day) to prevent further damage or to slow down the disease process.
  • Cancer prevention: vitamin E may offer protection against breast and lung cancer.
  • Diabetes: there are indications that vitamin E has a positive effect on the course of diabetes (diabetes mellitus). It seems that vitamin E can partially prevent the small veins from breaking due to diabetes.
  • Joint Inflammation: vitamin E can mitigate the effects of this disease, also known as arthritis.
  • Disturbed blood flow: Experts still do not agree on the role of vitamin E in keeping blood vessels free. If vitamin E does indeed influence this, it can be used in the prevention of arteriosclerosis and during the treatment of this disease.
  • Delay in the aging process: because the vitamin counteracts the 'corrosion' of the cell walls, some doctors think that vitamin E can also delay the entire aging process, but this is no more than a suspicion.

Video: Listening and its enemies. Avi Kluger. TEDxLaçador (April 2020).

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