Overview

Vitamin E is one of the most essential components for any living organism. It is soluble in fat and therefore, mostly available in plant oils, wheat gram oil and green leafy vegetables. The chemical name of Vitamin E is alpha tocopherol and in the medical division, it is commonly known as Aquasol. 


Many forms of Vitamin E are soluble in fat but only alpha tocopherol is absorbed in human cells. Other names of Vitamin E are tocopherol, acetate d-alpha tocopherol, acetate d-alpha tocopheryl, beta tocopherol, D-alpha tocopherol and many more. The molecular structure of Vitamin E is C29H50O2. The scientific name of Vitamin E is (2R)-2,5,7,8-tetramethyl-2-[(4R,8R)-4,8,12-trimethyltridecyl]-3,4-dihydrochromen-6-ol. Since the Vitamin E molecule is a heavy molecule with a molecular weight of 430.7g/mol, therefore, it is very difficult for the Vitamin E molecule to dissolve in water.

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The structural representation of Vitamin E shows that its molecule comprises eight fat-soluble components that include four tocopherols and tocotrienols. Both tocopherols and tocotrienols occur in alpha, beta, gamma and delta forms. But the occurrence of tocopherol as well as tocotrienols is determined by the position and number of methyl groups in the chromanol ring. Thus all these Vitamin E forms possess chromane double rings with hydroxyl groups attached to them. These vitamers in order to reduce a free radical, donate their hydrogen atom. 


On the other hand, the hydrophilic end of the vitamer allows its penetration into the cell membrane. Therefore, it is evident that Vitamin E is an antioxidant as it protects the unsaturated fat in the body from getting oxidized by peroxides and other free radicals. Hence it improves the life span of a human being by slowing the oxidation process in the body. 


Usage of Vitamin E

  1. Ataxia is an inherited condition that severely affects the motor cell of the nervous system and therefore, causes genetic movement disorder. This generally happens due to a high deficiency of Vitamin E. Vitamin E supplements are prescribed as a part of this treatment.

  2. Vitamin E supplements are used to prevent blood from clotting in the arteries of the heart and strengthen the immune system

  3. Thalassemia is a condition that reduces the level of a blood protein called haemoglobin. Regular intake of Vitamin E helps in restoring haemoglobin in the blood cells.

  4. An inherent condition known as G6PD deficiency causes the red blood cell to break down in response to stress. Some research studies show that taking Vitamin E along with selenium reduces the risk of this condition.

  5. In many premature infants, heavy bleeding takes place in or around the fluid-filled area of the brain. Oral dosing of Vitamin E to infants reduces the risk of bleeding in the brain.

  6. Many times a common lifestyle disorder called fatty liver can be witnessed among many adults. In this condition, a lot of fat builds up around the liver causing inflammation in that area. Regular intake of Vitamin E capsules improves inflammation and liver markers in children and adults.


Side Effects of Vitamin E

  1. Though a moderate amount of Vitamin E is helpful to reduce bleeding in the brain of premature infants it can cause severe blood cell infection if given in higher doses.

  2. Vitamin E is used by most people as skin applicants but people with allergic prone skin may experience itching and swelling after applying Vitamin E. 

  3. Vitamin E is very unsafe when inhaled. There have been many studies that show that vaporizing products with Vitamin E in the form of Vitamin E acetate can cause severe lung injury.  

  4. Excessive intake of Vitamin E reduces the ability of the blood cells to clot by themselves. Thus it results in blood thinning and excessive loss of blood from the body.


Precautions While Taking Vitamin E

  1. Though Vitamin E is safe for women who are expecting, it is not advisable for women in their early pregnancies to intake Vitamin E as some studies suggest that it has a harmful effect on the foetus in the early days. So vitamin intake for the first eight weeks of pregnancy is not recommended. But later on in pregnancy, women aged between 14-18 can consume up to 800mg of Vitamin E and women above 18 can consume up to 1000mg of Vitamin E.

  2. Vitamin E needs to be strictly avoided by people who are suffering from a blood disorder. 

  3. People with a history of heart disease should avoid intaking Vitamin E supplements on a regular basis as it may increase the chance of heart failure. People with severe heart conditions are not recommended Vitamin E doses above 400 IU daily.

  4. People who are suffering from osteoporosis are benefited from exercising. But taking Vitamin E supplements with vitamin c reduces the benefit of exercising in order to improve bone strength.


Interactions with Other Compounds

  1. Intake of Cyclosporine with Vitamin E increases the absorption of cyclosporine in the body. Thus the body starts absorbing cyclosporine more rapidly. Hence, the Vitamin E present with the cyclosporine increases the side effects of cyclosporine in the body.

  2. There are certain medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, heparin, diclofenac etc. that are famous as blood thinners. Vitamin E on the other hand works as a blood-clotting agent. Thus if Vitamin E along with the blood thinners is consumed then it increases the risk of bruising and blood clotting.

  3. Niacin is known to improve good cholesterol in our body. Taking Vitamin E, Vitamin C and beta-carotin together can reduce the effectiveness of niacin in the body.

  4. Some studies show that, if Vitamin E is consumed by a cancer patient for a prolonged time then it may deduce the effectiveness of the drugs used for cancer treatment. But this theory hasn't been completely established to date.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What is Vitamin E Good for?

Ans. Regular intake of Vitamin E boosts the immune system and helps in developing the body's natural defence system. It is also an antioxidant that does not allow free radicals to enter into cell membranes, thus protects the skin, eyes and provides a naturally healthy body.

Q2. Which Food has Maximum Vitamin E Concentration?

Ans. Wheat gram oil, peanuts, sunflower seeds, green leafy vegetables, almonds, soybean oil, all have almost similar levels of Vitamin E concentration in them.

Q3. What Happens if Vitamin E is Taken with Warfarin?

Ans. As warfarin is a blood thinner and Vitamin E on the other hand helps in blood clotting. Thus, if these two are taken together then there are high chances of bruising and an increased risk of blood clotting.

Q4. Is Vitamin E Water Soluble?

Ans. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble complex. As it has a hydrophilic end that repels water molecules, thus, it does not dissolve in water.