To see why we'll start with how it was discovered and then look at what it is and what is does for our health.
Vitamin E Discovered
Researchers were feeding laboratory rats a milk diet and found that the rats could not reproduce.
Whatever your views about nutrition – being so poorly nourished that you cannot have kids is Serious with a CAPITAL S.
And when the milk diet was enriched with an extract from lettuce and wheat germ the rats could reproduce.
That is what you can call a health boosting supplement!
More food sources of vitamin E in whole grains, avocadoes, tomatoes and berries.
Let's be clear – I am not suggesting that anyone who has sterility / infertility problems can just take some vitamin E and nine months later the patter of tiny feet ( no not rats' feet – but BABIES!)but it is one factor to be considered in case of poor fertility along with zinc status and many others.
But the scientists concerned were so impressed that they used the Greek words for children, tokos and to bear children, phero to get TOCOPHEROL the scientific word for vitamin E
So vitamin E, in historical terms is the anti-sterility vitamin and we wait to see if that is more fully established in the future.
And we might be waiting a long time.
When is Vitamin E not vitamin E?
No this is not meant to be a puzzle but there is a lot of confusion about vitamin E.
Part of that is because there are 8 types of vitamin E.
This is parallel to the vitamin B situation. Because we have B1,B2,B3…B12 we talk about vitamin B complex and this words means that we have different forms of vitamin B all with their disease curing and health boosting potential.
Vitamin E Complex Anyone?
And in spite of having 8 types of vitamin E nearly all the research is on one of the 8. This is clearly an unacceptable and ridiculous state of affairs and we urgently need focussed research on all 8 members of the vitamin E family.
Here they are alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherol and alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienol. It really would be simpler to give them numbers so we could just ask, "Have you had your vitamin E1 today?" but we are stuck with these awkward names at present.
What Vitamin E Does
It protects you.
To be more exact it protects the outside of the cells in your body. Each cell is wrapped in a very thin skin called a membrane and vitamin E sits on the membrane waiting for trouble to show up.
Then it uses its powers as an antioxidant.
We talk so much about antioxidants because they are able to deal with the biggest health problems we face which is inflammation. The anti-oxidant vitamins and minerals work hard to fight oxidation – the process of inflammation on an atomic scale which is the major driver of disease and aging.
So every cell in the body has this vitamin E power of protection.
Included in that are the cells of our immune system – they need nutrients for their protection and in cases of viral hepatitis and AIDS this is especially important.
Important too in protecting against damage done by heavy metals such as mercury and lead. And against chemicals such as benzene and carbon tetrachloride and solvents and cleaning materials.
And of course as an antioxidant it helps to protect us against ionizing radiation.
A good example of an inflammatory disease is cardiovascular disease often just called heart disease. That name ignores where the real problem is in cardiovascular illness – in the blood vessels.
It is not the amount of cholesterol in your food or in your blood that is most predictive of a heart attack it is the amount of vitamin E instead. Cholesterol is not completely irrelevant any more than it is the villain it is often portrayed at – it is the oxidation of cholesterol that is the real problem and we prevent that with antioxidants and in particular vitamin E.
Those with prescriptions for pharmacy drugs such as Coumadin and Warfarin should not introduce vitamin E however good the health news is because many drugs interfere with natural vitamins in our food and in our supplements. They must seek careful counselling from a Nutritional Doctor.
In case of vitamin E the range of therapeutic use is generally in the range 400 iu to 800 iu and it should be with as many of the vitamin E family as possible so look for a phrase such as "mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols" and in my view, avoid supplants that only consist of man made synthetics because they not only do not give you the proper protection you need but seem to be a cancer risk in themselves.
Dr. Mercola asked the question, "Synthetic Vitamin E is Problematic, so Why Did they Use it?" when referring to a so called study in which the artificial man-made chemical called "all rac-α-tocopheryl acetate" was used.
It showed an increase in cancer.
From that we can draw the conclusion that the chemical the researchers used was toxic or dangerous but we cannot in all honesty ascribe that to vitamin E.
The researchers did not use vitamin E – but the vast bulk of the media will run a story along the lines of "Researchers prove vitamin E causes cancer" which frankly and bluntly is drivel.
I am beating this point to death because such intellectual dishonesty appals me.
Vitamins by definition protect you from disease they do not cause disease. Artificial man made chemicals cooked up in a factory often cause disease and that is why we need to avoid them as much as [possible and eat a high quality diet and use health boosting supplements.
If you still have any doubt on this points do read Dr. Mercola webpage
A criticism of low quality research here
Finally, we need a good source of natural full spectrum vitamin E and do please let me know if you have found a better vitamin E supplement and I will update the post and let all the readers know.
A few I have found are here…