Fat soluble Vitamin E is one of the four fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Vitamins are some of the essential nutrients, they are organic molecules that we are usually unable to produce in our own bodies and therefore need to obtain them through diet. Actually, humans can produce Vitamin D in the skin when it is exposed to sun, and bacteria in the intestine can produce Vitamin K.
Some other essential nutrients include minerals, amino acids and some polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Vitamin E exists in many forms, and these include the fat soluble compounds tocopherols and tocotrienols. This vitamin is mostly known for its role as a cellular antioxidant, reducing oxidative damage to cell membranes. It is also considered essential for correct function of the nervous system.
Vitamin E is the main antioxidant in human cells. Unwanted oxidation happens when molecules in the body lose electrons, and antioxidants function by transferring electrons back on to those molecules so that they don’t turn in to free radicals, which are charged molecules that can cause damage to molecules in the cells. Antioxidants have been suggested to help delay aging and certain degenerative diseases, although supplementation has not shown significant benefit.
There are a few things that influence our requirement for fat soluble Vitamin E in the diet, the most significant one being consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids have more carbon-carbon double bonds than saturated fatty acids, and are therefore more prone to oxidation. The more polyunsaturated fats in the diet, the more Vitamin E needs to be consumed.
A major source of polyunsaturated fats in the diet are processed vegetable oils, and many health experts recommend to limit their consumption. Their processing methods also reduce their natural amount of Vitamin E, and therefore they may already be oxidized before they are consumed. It is also not recommended to cook with polyunsaturated fats because of the chances of them becoming oxidized and therefore harmful.
The recommended daily allowance for Vitamin E is 15 mg/day for adults. Some of the best sources include nuts and seeds, although vegetables and fruit also contain a significant amount. Many other food sources, including eggs, also contain a useful amount of this fat soluble vitamin. If you prefer to get your Vitamin E through vegetables, make sure to eat some fat along with them in order to increase absorption.
I don’t recommend supplementing with fat soluble Vitamin E, since it has not shown any benefit in research and most people should be able to get sufficient amounts through a varied and healthy diet. In fact, some research has shown Vitamin E supplementation to be harmful but other studies found no effect on mortality. Supplementation of this fat soluble vitamin is therefore unnecessary at best.