Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that help protect against lipid peroxidation. The vitamin acts against free radical damage. As a fat soluble vitamin, it also protects the cell membrane from oxidative damage.
Since fat soluble vitamins require the presence of fat to be absorbed, patients with fat malabsorption syndrome require vitamin E supplementation. Fat malabsorption syndromes include Crohn's disease and celiac disease.
Although vitamin E deficiency is rare, supplementation is indicated for patients with alpha-TTP deficiency. Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency include ataxia, sensory neuropathy, areflexia, and muscle hypertrophy.
Since vitamin E suppresses coagulation, excessive amounts increases the risk of bleeding and may cause hemorrhage. Vitamin K promotes synthesis of clotting factors and counteracts bleeding caused by vitamin E. Patients with vitamin K deficiency have an increased risk of bleeding.
Vitamin E increases the risk of bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke. Excessive amounts of vitamin E can suppress coagulation and increase prothrombin time.
Excessive doses of vitamin E increases the risk of heart failure, cancer progression, and mortality. Daily doses exceeding 200 IU/day may increase the risk of death in older patients with additional risk factors.
Dietary sources of vitamin E include nuts, whole grains, mustard greens, and wheat germ. Almonds and hazelnuts are examples of nuts containing vitamin E.
Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils such as corn oil, olive oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, and canola oil. The fats found in oils enhance the body's ability to absorb vitamin E.
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