E306 Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

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E306

Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

 

 

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Antioxidant
Vitamin E, known as the anti-sterility vitamin - from the Greek tokos (child) and pherein (bear), is fat-soluble and is a mixture of alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta- tocopherols. Although eight chemically similar substances have Vitamin E activity, alpha-tocopherol is the most active of these with 100%, followed by beta- (15-40%), gamma- (1-20% then delta (1%). Found in most foods, it is abundant in, amongst other things, whole grain cereals, corn and cottonseed oils, egg yolks, meat and milk. (See also E307, E308 and E309).

It is essential to the life of red blood cells and helps the supply of oxygen to the heart and muscles. Its requirement is increased by high intakes of polyunsaturated fats but, as the body stores about a year's supply, Vitamin E deficiency that produces signs and symptoms is rare. It is possible that generous intakes protect cell membranes from oxidation damage and consequent degenerative diseases.

E306 is an antioxidant for polyunsaturated fatty acids in tissue fats and is used in meat pies, desert toppings and vegetable oils as well as a vitamin supplement. Has a greater antioxidant effect than gamma-tocopherol (E308) in animals but not in cells or non-biological matter. It also protects other nutrients, such as Vitamin A, from oxidation but is largely destroyed by freezing.

Commercially it can be extracted, by distillation in a vacuum, from cottonseed, maize, rice germ, soya been oil, wheat germ, or green leaves and may, therefore, come from Genetically Modified sources.

Because of its antioxidant synergy with Ascorbyl palmitate it is likely to be found in combination with E304.

Tocopherol, or Vitamin E, is a fat-soluble vitamin in eight forms that is an important antioxidant. Vitamin E is often used in skin creams and lotions because it is believed to play a role in encouraging skin healing and reducing scarring after injuries such as burns.

Vitamin E exists in eight different forms. Each form has its own biological activity, the measure of potency or functional use in the body. Alpha-tocopherol is the most active form of vitamin E in humans, and is a powerful biological antioxidant.

Antioxidants such as vitamin E act to protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which are potentially damaging by-products of the body's metabolism. Free radicals can cause cell damage that may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Studies are underway to determine whether vitamin E might help prevent or delay the development of those chronic diseases.

The RDA for vitamin E is based on the alpha-tocopherol form because it is the most active, or usable, form. Unlike other vitamins, the form of alpha-tocopherol made in the laboratory and found in supplements is not identical to the natural form, and is not quite as active as the natural form.