A review of peer-reviewed journals, by myself, has shown that the antioxidant, mixed tocopherols like those found in our Power E Complex may be beneficial for those experiencing epilepsy, impaired immune function, intermittent claudication, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, impotence, Alzheimer's disease, angina, atherosclerosis, athletic performance, bronchitis, cold sores, dermatitis herpetiformis, diabetes, heart attacks, cancer (reduces risks of), pancreatic insufficiency, premenstrual syndrome, skin ulcers, wound healing, and yellow nail syndrome.
Some of the possible benefits seen from vitamin E are:
- May reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
- May lower the risk of asthma and allergies
- May help reduce or eliminate menstrual pain
- May normalize the menstrual cycle
- May improve circulation in people with diabetes
- May help prostate and breast cancer
- May benefit cognitive function
- May act as an antioxidant for the brain
- May help relieve or eliminate hot flashes
- May reduce the risk of cancer
- May protect against environmental pollutants
- May enhance immune function
Alpha-tocopherol is traditionally recognized as the most active form of vitamin E in humans and is a powerful biological antioxidant. The measurement of "vitamin E" activity in international units (IU) was based on fertility enhancement by the prevention of spontaneous abortions in pregnant rats relative to alpha-tocopherol. It increases naturally to about 150% of normal in the maternal circulation during human pregnancies. 1 IU of vitamin E is defined as the biological equivalent of 0.667 milligrams of d-alpha-tocopherol, or of 1 milligram of dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate. The other isomers*, beta, delta, and gamma, are slowly being recognized as research begins to clarify their beneficial roles in the human body. Many holistic and orthomolecular medicine advocates suggest that vitamin E supplements contain at least 20% by weight of the other natural vitamin E isomers. Commercially available blends of natural vitamin E include "mixed tocopherols" and "high gamma tocopherol" formulas. Also, selenium, Coenzyme Q10, and ample Vitamin C have been shown to be essential cofactors of natural tocopherols.
Tocotrienols, alpha, beta, delta, and gamma isomer*, also belong to the vitamin E family.
*(Definition - Isomer: One of two or more forms a chemical compound which has the same number and type of each atom but a different arrangement of atoms).
Antioxidants such as vitamin E act to protect cells against the effects of free radicals, which are potentially damaging by-products of the body's metabolism. Free radicals can cause cell damage that may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, degenerative diseases, Alzheimer s and cancer.Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants aid in the recycling of vitamin E end-products back into effective suppressors of free radicals. Studies are currently underway to determine whether vitamin E might help prevent or delay the development of many chronic diseases, including many forms of cancer and arthritis.
Commercial vitamin E supplements can be classified into several distinct categories:
- (Very bad) Fully synthetic vitamin E, "d,l-alpha-tocopherol", the most inexpensive, most commonly sold supplement form usually as the acetate ester.
- (Bad) Semi-synthetic "natural source" vitamin E esters, the "natural source" forms used in tablets and multiple vitamins.
- (Good) Highly fractionated natural d-alpha tocopherol.
- (Best) Less fractionated "natural mixed tocopherols." (Power E Complex)
- High gamma-tocopherol fraction supplements.
- Tocotrienol supplements.
The synthetic form is not as active as the natural alpha tocopherol form. Holistic and orthomolecular medicine advocates have long considered the synthetic vitamin E forms to be with little or no merit for cancer, circulatory, and heart diseases.
Semisynthetic "natural source"vitamin E, manufacturers convert the common natural beta, gamma and delta tocopherol isomers into esters using acetic or succinic acid and add methyl groups to yield d-alpha tocopheryl esters such as d-alpha tocopheryl acetate or d-alpha tocopheryl succinate. These tocopheryl esters are more stable and are easy to use in tablets and multiple vitamin pills. Because only alpha tocopherols were officially counted as "vitamin E" in supplements, refiners and manufacturers faced enormous economic pressure to esterify and methylate the other natural tocopherol isomers, d-beta-, d-gamma- and d-delta-tocopherol into d-alpha tocopheryl acetate or succinate.
Natural vs. Synthetic
A review of peer-reviewed journals, by myself, has shown that vitamin E dosages considerably above recommended dietary allowances have beneficial effects in preventing a number of degenerative diseases and conditions. For those individuals who choose to supplement their diets with an increased level of vitamin E, a consideration of differences in bioavailability of natural and synthetic vitamin E is of utmost importance. A number of research studies have demonstrated a strong discrimination between natural and synthetic vitamin E and that natural vitamin E is retained longer in body tissues. Current research also suggests that the previously accepted differences between natural and synthetic were underestimated and that the bioavailability of natural vitamin E is approximately twice that of synthetic vitamin E.