Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and this vitamin acts as a nutrient and is found in many food items. Vitamin E consists of eight tocopherols, all of which are naturally occurring. The absorption of Vitamin E in the human body is seen in the small intestine, and their storage is in adipose tissue, liver, and muscle. The primary function of vitamin E is that it is a naturally occurring antioxidant that helps in the prevention of heart and other chronic diseases. Its antioxidant property also helps in the prevention of cancer as it does not allow the non-enzymatic oxidation of cell components with the help of molecular oxygen and free radicals. This vitamin is involved in reproductive health as well.
Vitamin E is responsible for an increase in cervical mucus in women. Low levels of Vitamin E in men lead to fertility problems. The recommended dietary allowance of Vitamin E is 10mg in men and 8mg in women considering they are of alpha-tocopherol type. Vitamin E is usually found in vegetable oils like wheat germ oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, etc. It is also present in meat, eggs, butter, and milk. There are different forms of Vitamin E that are available. They are alpha, beta, gamma, delta, etc.
Alpha-tocopherol is the most common type of Vitamin E. It is present in the most natural form as it is transported as well as utilized by the liver. The main function of alpha-tocopherol is its antioxidant property which makes the free radicals unreactive that prevents the formation of cancerous cells. It is also responsible for the prevention of various chronic diseases, aging, arthritis, etc. Alpha-tocopherol protects fats from oxidation. Alpha-tocopherol is commonly found in almonds, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts. Almost all plant seeds are a common source of alpha-tocopherol.
It is a type of Vitamin E in which the formula contains only two methyl groups. The main role of beta tocopherol is as a plant metabolite. It is also a food component. Beta tocopherol is usually found in low concentrations in numerous vegetable oils. It is found in greater amounts in cottonseed oil. It also has antioxidant properties, comparatively lesser than alpha-tocopherol. It is a naturally occurring antioxidant.
Gamma tocopherol is a major type of vitamin E seen in people’s diets. It is a potent antioxidant. The formula of gamma-tocopherol has two methyl groups and is found in natural form. Gamma tocopherol is essential to the body as it hunts a specific type of free radical, namely lipophilic electrophiles that tend to damage proteins, lipids, and DNA. The serum blood levels of gamma-tocopherol are ten times lower as compared to alpha tocopherols. The major sources of gamma-tocopherol include black walnuts, sesame seeds, pecans, flaxseed, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds.
Vitamin E is important for our body, so it should be taken adequately. Deficiency of vitamin E is mostly associated with sterility, megaloblastic anemia, and changes in the central nervous system. Increased levels of Vitamin E in the body are not harmful to the body.