How To Know If You Have Vitamin E Deficiency?

How To Know If You Have Vitamin E Deficiency?

What if someone told you there is a vitamin that possesses antioxidant properties, prevents free radical damage and slows down the process of aging? Yes, all of these advantages are provided by vitamin E, and believe it or not, its benefits do not end there.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin which can effectively prevent oxidative stress from damaging the body. Your body needs it in order to regulate the immune system and prevent the viral and bacterial invasions. This particular vitamin can be obtained by consuming sunflower oil, wheat germ, corn, almonds, soybean oil, hazelnuts, broccoli, seeds, margarine, and cereals.

Why do you need vitamin E and what functions does it serve in your body? Keep reading to find out more.

Regulation of Cholesterol

Cholesterol naturally occurs in your body and is required for proper functioning of nerves, cells, and hormones. In the natural state, the cholesterol levels are balanced but when it oxidizes, that’s when the danger begins.

Studies have revealed that different isomers of vitamin E can serve as a potent antioxidant that can prevent cholesterol from oxidizing. The tocotrienol isomers of vitamin E are of particular importance because of their ability to regulate the synthesis and production of cholesterol and impacting on the cardiovascular health.

Prevention of Free Radical Damage

Free radicals are something to be scared of as they break down the healthy cells and tissues, initiating fatal diseases such as cancer. Free radicals naturally exist inside your body and need to be tackled properly to prevent disease development.

Isomers of vitamin E come handy in dealing with these free radicals and the consequent damage caused by them. Consumption of sufficient amount of vitamin E can fight inflammation,  slow down cell aging and fight heart diseases.

Studies have also revealed that vitamin E can improve your immunity and help you prevent infections. The immune enhancement effects are particularly evident in case of gamma-tocotrienol, alpha-tocotrienol, and to a lesser extent, delta-tocotrienol.

Improvement of Physical Endurance

Do you feel fatigued and drained soon after engaging in a physical activity? You might need to boost up the levels of vitamin E in your body. Vitamin E possesses the properties required to improve the physical endurance. It can successfully increase your muscular power and reduce the oxidative stress to which the muscles are exposed after a workout session.

This particular vitamin will increase your muscle strength and improve the blood circulation to eliminate fatigue. As a bonus, your capillary walls will strengthen and cells will nourish better.

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Towards a Better Skin

For all the ladies out there, vitamin E can benefit your skin by improving the elasticity, increasing moisture, and strengthening the capillary walls. It is a natural anti-aging vitamin that can help you get the skin you have always dreamt of.

Scientific studies have proven that vitamin E can ease inflammation on the skin and help it remain youthful for a longer duration of time. It will protect your precious skin from the harmful ultraviolet rays and cut down the risk of skin cancer by several folds.

Food for Brain

Research shows that the anti-inflammatory properties exhibited by vitamin E can effectively protect your brain against cognitive decline. It can slow down the memory loss in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders of the brain. If taken along with vitamin C, vitamin E can also cut down your risk of developing dementia later in life.

RELATED: Diet Changes To Reduce The Risk Of Dementia And Memory Loss

Are You Suffering From Vitamin E Deficiency?

When your body requirement for vitamin E isn’t met, it leads to a condition known as vitamin E deficiency. You may not know it but this type of deficiency can severely damage your body systems, sometimes leading to permanent loss of function.

How do you detect vitamin E deficiency? Look for the following symptoms.

Muscle Weakness

One of the most common manifestations of vitamin E is muscle weakness or myopathy. Experts believe that myopathy occurs when the muscle fibers begin to weaken over the course of time. In case of vitamin E deficiency, myopathy is often accompanied by severe lipid peroxidation, leading to a serious impairment in regular muscle activity.

Vision Impairment

Among other symptoms linked with vitamin E deficiency lies the problem of impaired vision. How does vitamin E deficiency cause vision impairment? This happens because of the thinning of retina followed by its complete degeneration. In case of severe deficiency of vitamin E, you may also suffer from blurry vision and may find it difficult to visualize things, especially at night.

Anemia

Anemia is a form of a blood disorder in which the amount of red blood cells circulating in your body is reduced to a significant extent. The red blood cells are an integral part of the circulatory system and are responsible for delivering oxygen to different parts of the body. Different types of anemia are known to exist.

The type of anemia most commonly associated with vitamin E deficiency is hemolytic anemia. In such a condition, your body starts breaking down the red blood cells rapidly. In infants, this is coupled with low birth weights making it essential to treat them with vitamin E at once.

Cognitive Impairment

Your entire nervous system is dependent on the presence of vitamin E in one way or another. So, if you are short on this essential vitamin, it is likely for your nervous system to fluctuate in terms of sensory functions. Nerve degeneration in hands and feet is often regarded as a classic symptom of vitamin E deficiency.

Some other related features include problems in coordination, bad reflexes, and a loss of posture. Its absence can also increase oxidative stress on the brain and further hamper the functions of your brain.

How Much Vitamin E Should You Consume?

To get all the benefits offered by vitamin E, it is important to consume enough of it on a daily basis. But how much of vitamin E is enough?

According to USDA, the recommended dietary allowance in case of vitamin E includes the amount taken from supplements and the natural sources. The daily intake of this vitamin can be measured using international units (IU) and milligrams (mg).

The recommended allowance of vitamin E varies from person to person depending on age and sex.

In Children:

  • 1 to 3 years: 9 IU/ 6 mg per day
  • 4 to 8 years: 10.4 IU/ 7 mg per day
  • 9 to 13 years: 16.4 IU/ 11 mg per day

Females:

  • 14 years and more: 22.4 IU/ 15 mg per day
  • Pregnant females: 22.4 IU/ 15 mg per day
  • Nursing mothers: 28.5 IU/19 mg per day

Males:

  • 14 years and more: 22.4 IU/15 mg per day

The tolerable upper intake level of vitamin E is the highest levels of this vitamin that can be consumed safely. These are the maximum doses one can take to combat a deficiency and a doctor must be consulted before exceeding these limits.

These upper intake levels are:

  • 1 to 3 years: 300 IU/ 200 mg per day
  • 4 to 8 years: 450 IU/ 300 mg per day
  • 9 to13 years: 900 IU/ 600 mg per day
  • 14 to 18 years: 1,200 IU/ 800 mg per day
  • 18 years and more: 1,500 IU/ 1000 mg per day

It is important to keep in mind that the supplements of vitamin E are fat soluble and work best when taken along with food. The American Heart Association suggests getting antioxidants such as vitamin E from food rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains

Vitamin E is a necessity for a healthy approach to life, so don’t forget to add it to your diet!

 

Nancy holds a Pharmacy degree from University of Michigan and Masters of Science MS in Infectious Disease and Global Health (MS-IDGH) from Tufts University. She worked as a lecturer for three years before she turned towards medical writing. Her area of interest are infectious diseases; causes, mechanism, diagnosis, treatments and prevention strategies. Most of her writings ensure an easy understanding of uncommon diseases.

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