Vitamin E is extremely important for a variety of functions in the body. A healthy heart needs plenty of Vitamin E as it has been shown to 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 Vitamin E, amongst others, the cell membranes would be damaged, and this could lead to serious health problems, including cancer. The reason that Vitamin E is so effective against free radicals is that it is fat soluble so it can be absorbed into the cell membranes. Vitamin E 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 Vitamin E that is needed. However, the only foods that really contain any reasonable amount of Vitamin E 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 Vitamin E does not affect a person immediately. In fact, it can take months for the effects of insufficient Vitamin E to be detected. After years of Vitamin E 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 Vitamin E.
There are a few medical conditions that may lead to a deficiency of the 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 Vitamin E being absorbed. Crohn’s disease causes to lower absorption rates of Vitamin E and a supplement may be necessary. Some forms of liver disease can also lead to problems absorbing Vitamin E, especially through the intestine. Of course, as fat is required to help absorb enough of Vitamin E, anyone on an extremely low-fat diet will need to discuss their options for increasing the amount of Vitamin E that their body needs.
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