Natural Vitamin Supplement Vitamin E

Heralded as the elixir of youth, vitamin E has recently been the focus of wide media attention. But what is vitamin E and what does it really do for our health? Here's the low-down:

What is Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is not a single substance but a range of different compounds. The most active is d-alpha-tocopherol, along with beta-tocopherol, gamma tocopherol and delta tocopherol.

Vitamin E was only discovered in 1922 when rats fed on a purified diet developed a range of reproductive issues. However when certain foods such as lettuce, wheat, meat and butter were added back to their diets, the problems were resolved. The common substance in all these foods was found to be tocopherol, later named vitamin E.

What Does Vitamin E Do?
Studies claim that vitamin E has unique anti-aging and antioxidant properties. It works by countering the free radicals produced in the body through everyday functions such as exercise and breathing. Antioxidants neutralize these free radicals before they have a chance to damage cells, causing premature aging, heart disease and cataracts. Vitamin E also reduces inflammation in disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, improves circulation and slows the development of plaque which can narrow the artery walls.

How Much Vitamin E Should I Take?
Most researchers agree that the body needs considerably more than the recommended daily value of 30 international units (IUs) per day. Dr Evan Shute, international researcher and physician, recommends average healthy females should take 400 IUs a day, and average healthy males 600 IUs a day. No negative side effects have been discovered when taking these much higher doses.

Good sources of vitamin E are nuts, seeds, wheat germ oil, leafy green vegetable, fruits, whole grains and some vegetable oils, but these can only realistically supply around 22 IUs per day. Unfortunately, choosing polyunsaturated fats which are high in vitamin E is negated when used for cooking as high temperatures destroy the vitamin E. Commercial processing and refining of food and storage also destroys it.

To reach the higher recommended amounts needed to prevent free radical damage, supplements must be taken. Body builders and weightlifters also take high doses of vitamin E to prevent muscle loss.

Vitamin E supplements should be taken with a meal as it is more readily absorbed when taken with food rather than on an empty stomach.

Natural or synthetic?
Natural forms of vitamin E, found in corn oils and margarines, soybean, cottonseed, safflower and wheatgerm is generally better absorbed and retained than synthetic forms. To differentiate the source, natural vitamin E is prefixed with a d (eg. d-alpha tocopherol) and synthetic forms are prefixed with dl (eg. dl-alpha tocopherol). Those considering adding a supplement of vitamin E to their diet can take advantage of a 30-day trial supply, risk free, of IVL's 400IU Natural Vitamin E with Mixed Tocopherols which is sourced from soybean oil for easy absorption and is 100% natural.

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