Vitamin E is extremely important for a variety of functions in the body. A healthy heart needs plenty of the E vitamin as it has been shown to actually prevent heart disease. Vitamin E can also help contain any existing heart disease and stop it from getting worse.
Vitamin E is also vital in protecting the cell membranes from the harmful free radicals that are present in the body. Without the E vitamin, amongst others, the cell membranes would be damaged and this could lead to serious health problems, including cancer.
The reason that the E vitamin is so effective against free radicals is that it is fat soluble so it can be absorbed into the cell membranes. The E vitamin is therefore essential for the immune system.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin E that a person requires depends on their body weight. This is connected to the fact that the more fat a diet contains then the more of the vitamin E that is needed.
However, the only foods that really contain any reasonable amount of the E vitamin are vegetable oils, seeds, wheat germ, and nuts. It is for this reason that most people should take some form of vitamin E supplement.
A deficiency of the E vitamin does not affect a person immediately. In fact, it can take months for the effects of insufficient E vitamin to be detected.
After years of E vitamin deficiency, there may be some detectable damage to the nerves of the spinal cord or retina of the eye but this is very rare.
Most people obtain enough vitamin E from a normal diet but it is essential that the food that a person eats contains a little fat to help with the absorption of the vitamin E.
There are a few medical conditions that may lead to a deficiency of vitamin E and may require the person to take vitamin E supplements.
Cystic fibrosis causes a person to be unable to digest fats well which leads to less of the E vitamin being absorbed. Crohn’s disease causes to lower absorption rates of the E vitamin and a supplement may be necessary.
Some forms of liver disease can also lead to problems absorbing the E vitamin, especially through the intestine.
Of course, as fat is required to help absorb sufficient amounts of the E vitamin, anyone on an extremely low-fat diet will need to discuss their options for increasing the amount of E vitamin that their body needs.