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Vitamin E Deficiency-Are You at Risk?

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Vitamin E benefits many functions in the body. It is a powerful antioxidant whose main job is to protect cells from free radical damage. It also plays a role in supporting a healthy immune system. It is used to prevent and treat heart disease, cancer, macular degeneration, and cataracts, reduce oxidative stress, and improve cognitive function.

Vitamin E deficiency is rare, except in those who are malnourished or who have mal- absorption conditions (celiac disease, cystic fibrosis); however, many people receive less than the recommended amount of vitamin E and this is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency include impaired balance and coordination, damage to sensory nerves, muscle weakness and damage to the retina of the eye.

Drugs that deplete vitamin E: cholestyramine, colestipol, isoniazid, mineral oil, orlistat, sucralfate, phenobarbitol, phenytoin, and carbamazepine.

Vitamin E may enhance the blood-thinning effects of warfarin. Since it is difficult to achieve the recommended amount of vitamin E from diet alone, supplements are often necessary to achieve the amounts needed for disease prevention.

Food sources that are good sources of vitamin E include:  Vegetable oils (olive, sunflower, safflower oils), nuts, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables.

Lisa Fielding
For the past 25 years, Lisa has enjoyed various roles within the marketing and advertising industry, including at femMED. A busy mom with 2 young children, 2 dogs and a cat named George, Lisa, like all working moms, strives to find the right balance between all things work and play. A firm believer in taking charge of your own destiny, Lisa is passionate about women’s health and encourages women to become their own health advocates.