Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. It exists in eight forms. Each of the eight forms of this vitamin has different biological functions to perform. The most active form of this vitamin present in human body is Alpha-tocopherol. It also functions as a strong natural antioxidant.
Vitamin E is thus a strong antioxidant that helps in protecting the cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. By preventing the effect of free radicals, they save human body from many cardiovascular ailments and cancer. Vitamin E is found to have the potential to delay or even stop the development of these chronic ailments.
Vitamin E also plays a positive role in immune function, in DNA repair, and also in other metabolic processes.
The major function of vitamin E is to protect the red blood cells. It also saves the crucial vitamins A and C from destruction. Green leafy vegetables are the main source of Vitamin E. The other major sources of this vitamin include margarine and wheat germ. Vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, safflower, and cottonseed also contain this vitamin in abundance.
Vitamin E deficiency is, however, rare in humans. But, people fall short of this vitamin in three specific situations. People whose body cannot absorb dietary fat due to inefficient bile secretion are found to be at risk of vitamin E deficiency.
People who have difficulty in fat metabolism are also prone to Vitamin E deficiency. Premature babies with very low birth weight are also likely to be deficient in this vitamin. People with rare genetic abnormalities in the alpha-tocopherol transfer protein are also considered to be at risk of vitamin E deficiency.
The level of Vitamin E in the blood also gets lowered as a consequence of zinc deficiency. The insufficiency of this vitamin is generally associated with neurological disorders. People who suffer from Vitamin E deficiency often suffer from nerve degeneration in their hands and feet.