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
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
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