Vitamin E is Vital to Building Muscles and Repairing Cells

Vitamin E and Muscle Building and Cell RepairAlthough weight trainers have always said vitamin E was needed for building muscles, until now the reason for this had not been known.  New research has shown vitamin E is necessary for repairing a cell’s plasma membrane.  What this means is that a cell is not able to properly repair itself after having been damaged without vitamin E.

Muscle cells often get membrane tears when being used a new study points out.  Building muscle is a natural tearing and repairing process said researchers.  If cell membranes are not repaired muscle cell death occurs.  If this continues over a long time period you see muscle wasting. This often occurs with the elderly who do not intake enough Vitamin E.  Researchers see implications for this finding for traumatic brain injury, muscular dystrophy and diabetes associated muscle weakness.

Rats were fed a diet of normal rodent food with the vitamin E removed.  Some rats were given the food alone while other rats were given the food plus a vitamin E supplement.  A training period to determine the rat’s inbred ability to run downhill on a treadmill was given.  This exercise called eccentric contraction challenges muscles and often produces muscle soreness.

The study found the vitamin E deficient rats were challenged in their ability to run compared with the control group.  Additionally these vitamin E deficient rats made more rest stops despite being given a mild electric shock when they stood still.  Researchers also injected a dye which was unable to break through a plasma membrane if it was intact.  The vitamin E deficient rats showed that their muscle cells were easily penetrated by the dye.  The other rats did not exhibit this same result.

Further study is needed.




Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Age Related Macular DegenerationAs a person ages it is inevitable that their vision will diminish.  Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), for millions of people over the age of 55, is a more serious condition.  AMD is an irreversible eye disease and ultimately leads to vision impairment and even blindness.

AMD is the number one cause of blindness and visual impairment among elderly white Americans (54% of cases) especially women.  About 2 million Americans have advanced AMD while over 8 million people have intermediate AMD with the risk that the disease will progress to the more advanced stage.  The likelihood of getting this disease increases after the age of 55.

AMD is a progressive disease in which the light and color sensing cells in the macular region of the retina in the back of the eye deteriorate.  As the disease progresses, central vision is lost.  Central vision is responsible for detailed tasks like reading, driving and facial recognition.

There are 2 types of age related macular degeneration:

Dry-This is the most common form of the disease and accounts for 85-90% of all AMD cases.  Dry AMD is defined by a buildup of drusen (yellowish deposits) beneath the retina.  Symptoms of advanced AMD may include spots or holes in the center field of vision or blurred vision.  These blurred spots become bigger and darker as the disease progresses.  Usually dry AMD effect one eye first and then can spread to the next eye.

Wet-This form is a more severe form of AMD with a rapidly worsening loss of vision.  With the wet form of AMD there is a growth of abnormal blood vessels under the macula.  These blood vessels are very fragile.  Damage to the macular happens when these blood vessels leak fluid and blood causing vision distortion and blindness.

There has been much research that suggests that diet and supplements can be influential in eye diseases related to aging like AMD.

ARED-One of the most widely publicized studies relating supplements and AMD was conducted the NEI (National Eye Institute) part of the NIH (National Institute of Health.  Over 4700 people, between 55 and 80 years of age, participated in the study.  Participants received the following antioxidant “cocktail” or a placebo:

Vitamin C (500 MG)

Vitamin E (400 IU)

Beta Carotene (15 MG)

Zinc (80 MG)

Copper (2 MG)

A 25% reduction in risk of developing AMD was seen in individuals who were identified as having a higher risk for the disease.  For those people who already had AMD a reduction in vision loss risk of 19% was seen.

AREDS2-This 5 year companion study began in 2006.  It was undertaken with the idea that by changing the antioxidant “cocktail” the results obtained by AREDS might be improved.  Beta Carotene was removed.  Zinc was removed or reduced and Omega 3 (1000 MG), Lutein (10MG)  and Zeaxanthin (2 MG) were added.  For participants with low dietary lutein/zeaxanthin supplementation a lowered risk of advanced AMD and a reduced need for cataract surgery was seen.   Other prominent studies reinforced the results seen in AREDS2.


Vitamin E Significantly Improves Liver Function for Fatty Liver Patients

Vitamin E and Fatty Liver DiseaseA meta-analysis of five clinical trials shows a significant improvement in liver function in individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) when supplementing with Vitamin E.

Vitamin E was found to improve “serum biochemical parameters and hepatic histology”.  Improvements in inflammation, ballooning and hepatic fibrosis were also seen.

NAFLD is becoming a global public health issue with the increase in worldwide obesity and metabolic syndrome. NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatisis), a form of NAFLD has been linked with the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (the most common type of liver cancer) and liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver).


Nutrient Deficiencies Linked to Mental Ill Health

Nutrient Deficiencies and Mental Health IssuesAccording to a new review, patients with Schizophrenia, a long-term mental disorder, have low levels of Vitamins C, E, D, B12 and Folate.  The studies looked at did not determine a definitive cause and effect relationship between Schizophrenia and nutritional deficiencies.

28 study articles were reviewed for this meta-analysis which involved over 2600 participants, 1221 with first-episode psychosis (FEP) and 1,391 controls.  Significant reduction in Vitamin C, Vitamin D and folate were seen in the participants who had experienced FEP when compared to the control group.  These nutrient deficiencies existed in participants with long-standing psychosis as well as at the onset of first-episode psychosis.  Researchers also found that the difference in Vitamin D levels between the control group and the participants experiencing FEP was the most pronounced of all the nutrients.  In one study researchers found the differences in participant’s folate levels were caused from genetic differences in metabolizing folate and not from dietary influences.  Additionally large deficits of Vitamin C in FEP were noted in 2 studies both with small sample sizes.  It was noted that this Vitamin C deficit may have been due to low vegetable and fruit intake in the group with the Vitamin C deficit.  One RCT (randomized control trial) in participants undergoing their first antipsychotic treatment who supplemented with 500 mg of Vitamin C daily showed reductions in psychiatric symptoms.

The review showed that nutritional deficiencies caused from insufficient absorption or intake of nutrients is seen as potential risk factors for psychiatric conditions.  Vitamin B supplementation may reduce symptoms of schizophrenia significantly and reverse some neurological deficits associated with the disorder.  Additionally the antioxidants, Vitamin C and E are lower in long-term schizophrenia which might contribute to the increased levels of oxidative stress seen in this group of people.

Future research is warranted.



The Health Benefits of Vitamin E

Vitamin EVitamin E, an antioxidant, is a fat-soluble nutrient and can only be obtained through food or through supplementation.  It is well known for its benefits for the skin, however it also beneficially for the heart and the brain.  A deficiency of Vitamin E is usually caused by a genetic abnormality or a fat malabsorption disorder.

Health Benefits for the Skin:

People have long recognized that Vitamin E is good for their skin.               Vitamin E in addition to Vitamin C has been proven to provide anti-aging benefits by preventing oxidative damage caused by sunlight.  These two antioxidants are also able to protect the skin against UV irradiation as well as eliminate free radicals, known to break down the polyunsaturated fatty acid membranes that provide cellular protection for every cell.  These two antioxidants used in combination have been shown in studies to provide a synergistic benefit not seen by either antioxidant when taken by them self.  Additionally studies have shown people with vitiligo, a condition where the skin loses its pigmentation, who have taken Vitamin E supplements have improved re-pigmentation of the skin as well as a reduction in the worsening of the condition.  Reductions in inflammation and lesion growth have also been seen with Vitamin E supplementation.Brain

Health Benefits for the Heart:

Vitamin E aids in protecting cells from oxidative stress in addition to preventing LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol from oxidation.  A severe deficiency of Vitamin E can cause cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle.  Animal studies have shown beneficial effects of Vitamin E for atherosclerosis.  In a large study with almost 40,000 women participants over 45 years of age, cardiovascular death rates were reduced by 24% in participants supplementing with Vitamin E.  Women older than 65, experienced a 49% reduction in cardiovascular death rates and a 26% reduction in nonfatal heart attacks.

Health Benefits for Other Things:

New interest in Vitamin E and its ability to support brain health has prompted research.  Some studies have shown Vitamin E could provide protective effects against injuries occurring in brain cells caused by strokes, reducing the risk for neurodegenerative diseases.  It is believed that Vitamin E influences the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment as well.

Vitamin E also has been linked with benefits for individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFL).  Studies have found supplementation with Vitamin E improved biochemistry features and microscopic tissue structures of patients with NAFL.

Increased Vitamin E supplementation during pregnancy may be needed to meet the increased needs of the body and to prevent gestational complications including several brain conditions.

In a study of over 29,000 male smokers who supplemented with Vitamin E for 5 – 8 years, a 32% reduction in prostate cancer incidence was seen when compared to the placebo group.

Over 90% of adults in the United States do not meet the average daily requirement of Vitamin E (around 15 mg) according to the Linus Pauling Institute.  Older individuals needing to improve their immunity should take higher dosages.


Could Vitamin E Protect Against Gallstones?

Vitamin E and GallstonesA new study recently published in Nutrients points to a lower risk of Gallstone Disease being linked to higher blood levels of Vitamin E.  Additionally researchers found participants with Gallstone Disease had a lower alpha tocopherol/cholesterol ratio than healthy participants.  Gamma tocopherol levels/cholesterol ratios were also higher in healthier participants but the results were not statistically significant.

Over 550 individuals with a median age of 62 participated in this cross-sectional study.  Women represented 38.5% of the study participants.  Individuals with visibly detectable Gallstones identified by ultrasound were considered to have Gallstone Disease.  Blood samples were used to determine LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and Vitamin E (alpha and gamma tocopherol) levels.  Associations between Gallstone Disease and Vitamin E blood levels as well as Gallstone Disease and Vitamin E/cholesterol ratio were made by researchers.

Researchers concluded that Vitamin E might help protect against oxidative stress and free radical damage which are believed to play a role in the development of Gallbladder disease.  However researchers did caution that lower Vitamin E levels could be caused by increased oxidative stress in the participants with Gallstone Disease.  It has already been determined that individuals with Gallstones have a reduction in Vitamin E absorption and interruptions in bile secretions seen in Gallbladder Disease are associated with deficiencies in fat-soluble vitamins.

Additional studies are needed.


Vitamin E Deficiency May Lead to Increased Colorectal Cancer Risk

Vitamin E and Colorectal CancerA new meta-analysis and systematic review found a Vitamin E deficiency may be associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Researchers looked at 11 studies published between 1950 and 2016.  Over 520 colorectal cancer patients and almost 6,000 healthy controls participated in these various studies that looked at the link between serum Vitamin E levels and the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer patients were found to have lower serum Vitamin E levels than the healthy control subjects in the hospital based studies.  This relationship (Vitamin E levels and colorectal cancer risk) was not found in the population based studies.

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cause of death from cancer throughout the world, the third most common type of cancer in men and the second most common type of cancer in women.  The most worrisome aspect of this type of cancer is that its possible causes are not completely understood.

Due to flaws in some of the study designs, “prospective cohort studies should be conducted to assess the effect of serum Vitamin E on the risk of colorectal cancer”.