Sunday, February 22, 2009

Vitamin E

Vitamin E originates from plants. It is found in vegetable oils such as corn, olive, palm, peanut and cotton-seed oils. Animals acquire their vitamin E from plants directly, or by eating other animals that have derived their vitamin E from plants and stored it in their liver, muscles and fat. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin like A, D and K.

Vitamin E has an important function as an`antioxidant'. As such, it prevents the degradation of polyunsaturated fat and other compounds by oxygen. It may have some additional functions in the membranes of body cells. Although an attractive idea, there is really no good evidence that vitamin E retards the ageing process or reduces coronary heart disease. The erroneous view that it might improve libido arose because vitamin-E-deficient animals can be infertile.
It has been recommended that enough vitamin E should be present in food containing polyunsaturated fat in order to prevent oxidation (degradation) of the fat. Where up to 10 per cent of dietary energy comes from polyunsaturated fat, 10 to 20 milligrams of vitamin E per day adequately protects the fat and provides enough of the vitamin for an adult. An alternative recommendation is that the diet should contain 0.4 milligram vitamin E for each 1 gram of polyunsaturated fatty acid consumed.

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