Vitamin E Deficiency
In the hierarchy of important vitamins, Vitamin E makes the top 5. An important anti-inflammatory agent, Vitamin E is responsible for improving the body’s defenses by regulating the cell’s immune response. After knowing its function, one can only imagine what the deficiency of Vitamin E would do to the body. While we realize the importance of immunity in the post-pandemic world, it is also crucial to know how Vitamin E plays a key role in boosting our body’s natural defense system. Vitamin E is available in a whole bunch of foods that regularly appear on our dinner plates. A vitamin E deficiency is actually pretty rare — but not impossible. Vitamin E deficiency usually points to a potentially more serious underlying condition.
What is Vitamin E ?
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is loaded with antioxidant properties and aids in keeping our immunity system up and running! Since it is fat-soluble, it needs an adequate quantity of fat so that our bloodstream appropriately absorbs it. It occurs naturally in a wide range of foods and is even added to certain food products to help you increase your intake.
Requirement of Vitamin E –
Adults and children 14 years and older need 15 milligrams (mg) of vitamin E per day.
Children under this age need a smaller dose on a daily basis:
• Age group 1 to 3: 6 mg/day
• Age group 4 to 8: 7 mg/day
• Age group 9 to 13: 11 mg/day
Women who are breastfeeding should get 19 mg per day.
Combining just a few foods per day will help you meet your vitamin E intake. For example:
• One ounce of sunflower seeds contains 7.4 mg of vitamin E.
• Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 2.9 mg of vitamin E.
• A half cup of spinach contains 1.9 mg of vitamin E.
Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency can lead to:
• Muscle weakness
Vitamin E is essential to the central nervous system. It is among the body’s main antioxidants, and a deficiency results in oxidative stress, which can lead to muscle weakness.
• Coordination and walking difficulties
A deficiency can cause certain neurons, called the Purkinje neurons, to break down, harming their ability to transmit signals.
• Numbness and tingling
Damage to nerve fibers can prevent the nerves from transmitting signals correctly, resulting in these sensations, which are also called peripheral neuropathy.
• Vision deterioration
A vitamin E deficiency can weaken light receptors in the retina and other cells in the eye. This can lead to loss of vision over time.
Vitamin E deficiency could be caused due to certain diseases which includes –
• Chronic pancreatitis
• Cystic fibrosis
• Primary biliary cirrhosis
• Crohn’s disease
• Short bowel syndrome
• Ataxia with vitamin E deficiency
Deficiency is also common in newborn and premature babies who have lower birth weights and less fat.
Medical professionals typically diagnose a vitamin E deficiency using blood tests where they look for low blood levels of the vitamin, and treatment differs depending on the underlying cause.
Source of Vitamin E –
Vitamin E is plentiful in a wide variety of foods. The body cannot produce it, so it must be obtained from the diet or a supplement.
Foods that contain vitamin E include:
• nuts and seeds, such as almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and peanut butter
• whole grains
• vegetable-based oils, especially olive and sunflower
• leafy vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli
• fortified cereals
While the body needs a sufficient amount of vitamin E, a surplus amount is never good. An individual must not take too many supplements of vitamins A, D, E, and K. Excessive levels of vitamin E in the body may cause abnormal bleeding, diarrhoea, muscle aches, and vomiting. The bleeding could increase the risk of a stroke and early death. Surplus vitamin E can also interact with blood thinners and chemotherapy medications and have adverse effects.
It is always better to consult your doctor regarding the dosage of supplements of vitamin E you are planning on including in your diet
Supplementing vitamin E
You should only take vitamin E supplements after clearing them with your doctor. If your doctor suggests supplementing vitamin E, be sure to buy from a reputable brand. Although vitamin E supplements are monitored by the FDA, they’re not as strictly regulated as pharmaceuticals, so supplements aren’t’ always safe and effective. At the end of the day, eating vitamin-E-rich foods could be safer and more effective than taking a supplement.
However, some people, such as those with medical conditions that impact vitamin E absorption, may need a vitamin E supplement to maintain healthy levels.
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