Vitamins

Print

also known as : Tocopherol

Vitamin E is used in nutrition to prevent or treat many diseases caused by oxidative stress in the cell (physical effort, pollution) and caused by ageing (cardiovascular diseases, cataracts, degenerative neurological diseases).

A little background information

Vitamin E was discovered in 1920 as a factor in fertility and it was isolated in 1936. It was not until the eighties that its major antioxidant role for the cell was proven. Vitamin E is a generic term that covers several substances, of which alphatocopherol is the most widespread and the form that is the most active biological antioxidant in the cell membranes. Vitamin E is stored in the body’s fat tissue, in the liver and in the muscles.

Its role in the body

Vitamin E protects the cell against the action of free radicals. More properly known as “oxygen-reactive species,” free radicals are natural products of the cells during biological oxidation. They are normally part of the body’s natural defences, but when the balance between antioxidants and free radicals is disrupted, the result is oxidative stress.

Generally speaking, vitamin E helps :

  • protect the cell membranes;
  • fight against the biological effects of stress;
  • improve the immune defences.

Natural sources

The most important sources of vitamin E are vegetable. They include oils, oleaginous grains and cereals. It is also found in some animal products, such as liver, eggs and butter.