Vitamin & Nutrition Corner

Vitamin & Nutrition Corner: Vitamin E

Vitamin E:   Integral Antioxidant

Vitamin E is another essential nutrient due to its effects on both your ocular and overall health.  Coastal Vision Vitamin and Nutrition Corner Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps protect your cells and Vitamin A against oxidation.  Vitamin E is also essential to your circulatory system, assists in the formation of red blood cells, and allows for better use of Vitamin K in the clotting process.

One study has suggested that patients taking Vitamin E supplements had a slower progression of cataracts.   This is believed to be the result of Vitamin E’s anti-oxidant protection of the intraocular lens against free radical damage.   Free radicals are circulating chemicals that cause damage to all body tissues and lead to cataracts.

Within the retina, Vitamin E is found in high concentrations within the photoreceptors, which are the cells that absorb light and vision.   And it’s Vitamin E’s antioxidant properties that again come into play by protecting these very important cells from the damaging stress of aging.   Vitamin E was also a component in the supplement treatment of Macular Degeneration in the landmark Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS).

In most developed countries, a true deficiency of Vitamin E is pretty rare.   In conditions, such as Crohn’s, where fat metabolism is disrupted Vitamin E may be markedly deficient.  But most Americans have a diet containing a fair amount of Vitamin E with the moderate need for supplements or dietary additions in order to obtain the vitamin’s full benefit.

It should be noted that Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that excess intake could have harmful effects.    Excess use may increase risk for hemorrhagic events (stroke) and may demonstrate muscle weakness, headaches, fatigue, and decreased thyroid function.   If you are taking blood thinning agents, Vitamin E should be discussed with your primary care physician before taking larger amounts.

How Much Vitamin E:

  • 30 IU (International units)

Where to get Vitamin E:

Leafy green veggies are a great source of Vitamin E.  (photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Leafy green veggies are a great source of Vitamin E. (photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
  • Vegetable oils
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Egg yolks
  • Almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts
  • Vitamin supplements

Benefits of Vitamin E

  • Reduced progression of cataracts
  • Anti-oxidant protection of retina
  • Reduced progression of Macular Degeneration in combination with other anti-oxidants
  • Improved circulatory system function, red blood cell formation, and clotting function.