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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diet and Nutrition > Vitamin E: Functions and Sources
      Category : Health Centers > Food, Nutrition, and Metabolism

Vitamin E

Alternate Names : Tocopherol, Alpha-Tocopherol, Tocotrienol

Vitamin E | Functions and Sources

What food source is the nutrient found in?

Vitamin E is found in the fatty parts of foods. The best sources of vitamin E are unsaturated fats, such as vegetable oils. These include sunflower, safflower, canola, olive, and wheat germ oils. It is also found in avocados, nuts, seeds, wheat germ, and whole grain, or unrefined, products. Green leafy vegetables have smaller amounts. Soybean oil has a form of vitamin E that has little influence on health. This oil is not a good source of vitamin E. Soybean oil is the most common oil used in products like salad dressing and mayonnaise. Heating oils to high temperatures, such as in frying, can destroy vitamin E. Storage and freezing foods for a long time can also destroy vitamin E.

Vitamin E is found in the germ of a seed or grain. Most of the nutrients are concentrated there. Whole-wheat flour contains much of the original germ, so it has vitamin E. Refined flour, or white flour, has been stripped of many of its nutrients, including vitamin E.

How does the nutrient affect the body?

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant. Antioxidants protect cells from oxidation. Oxidation can lead to cell damage. Cell damage can lead to chronic health problems, such as heart disease and cancer. Vitamin E works closely with other antioxidants, like vitamin C and selenium, to help protect the body. Vitamin E improves the way the body uses vitamin A. It may help protect against ion the toxic effects of some metals, such as lead.

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Vitamin E: Overview & Description


Author: Kimberly Tessmer, RD, LD
Reviewer: Jane Hemminger, RD, LD
Date Reviewed: 05/01/01

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