From life-stage needs to specific health concerns, vitamin E is an important part of your daily nutrient intake. According to the National Institutes for Health, most Americans do not get enough of this essential vitamin from the foods we eat.* The best sources of E in foods come from nuts and seeds, though green vegetables and some vegetable oils also provide it. As a great antioxidant, vitamin E provides support for heart, immune, eye and brain health.* Read on for even more benefits of this fundamental vitamin with the latest study information from Natural Insights for Well Being.
Revisiting Vitamin E
New review finds nutrient is safe, essential, and too low in most people
What is vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a powerful natural antioxidant that helps preserve lipids in the body, such as the omega-3 DHA—the most prevalent fatty acid in the brain. Most Americans do not get enough vitamin E from foods.
In the developing embryo, vitamin E protects the function of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, which is essential for the child to develop a healthy, fully formed brain and skull. In one study, children born with higher levels of vitamin E had better cognitive function compared to kids with lower levels. Discussing the findings, Dr. Maret G. Traber said, “It is important all your life, but the most compelling evidence about vitamin E is about a 1,000-day window that begins at conception, where vitamin E is critical to neurologic and brain development that can only happen during that period. It is not something you can make up for later.”
Measuring the lifelong dietary pattern, older adults who got more vitamin E and who maintained a more consistent supply of vitamins had larger brain size and better cognitive function compared to those who got less vitamin E and other vitamins over a lifetime. While vitamin E supplements do not appear to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, studies show vitamin E does slow its progression.
Low levels of vitamin E in expectant mothers are linked to infection and anemia, and to stunted growth in their babies. Babies who are deficient can have neurological disorders, deterioration of skeletal muscle, and weakening of the heart muscle.
A new study of 12,641 men who took 400 IU of vitamin E every other day or a placebo, found, over a 10-year follow-up, no link between prostate cancer and vitamin E, contradicting the findings from the earlier SELECT study.
Reference: Advances in Nutrition; September, 2014, Vol. 5, 503-14
Healthy Bones and Joints
Nutrients help reduce chances for hip fracture and slow the progression of osteoarthritis of the knee, two new studies show
More vitamin E, less hip fracture
Doctors in this study measured vitamin E levels in 1,160 men and women, aged 65 to 79, who had had a hip fracture during an 11-year study follow-up period, and compared them to 1,434 men and women who participated in the same health study but who had not had a hip fracture during this time.
Compared to those with the lowest levels, those with the highest circulating vitamin E levels were 34 percent less likely to have had a hip fracture. Researchers also saw a linear relationship: as levels of circulating vitamin E increased, chances for hip fracture decreased.
Reference: Osteoporosis International; 2015, Vol. 25, No. 11, 2545-54
Low vitamin D levels raise chances for OA
In this study, doctors measured vitamin D levels in 418 people with osteoarthritis (OA) in one or both knees, and tracked joint-space narrowing—a sign of the progress of OA as the joints lose their protective cartilage—over two to four years of follow-up.
The average vitamin D level for all participants was 26.2 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL). Those whose vitamin D levels fell below 15 ng/mL were twice as likely to see OA worsen over the follow-up period compared to those with higher vitamin D levels. Doctors consider vitamin D levels below 20 ng/mL as insufficient, and levels from 20 to 60 ng/mL as optimal.
Reference: American Society for Nutrition; December, 2014, Published Online
Betsy’s Note: Vitamin E thins blood. It also is fat-soluble, meaning those with certain conditions may need to begin slow and work up to tolerance. This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider. It is also a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before beginning a supplement, especially if you take prescription medications.
Articles copyright 2015 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.