Dr. Di's Health Tips - June 2003
Vitamin E - Let's not forget this amazing nutrient!
Vitamin E was discovered in 1922 by researchers HM Evans and KS Bishop at the University of California. It was originally called the fertility vitamin because it helped miscarriage-prone laboratory animals carry fetuses to full term. In 1932, a Danish veterinarian Vogt-Moller published an article in The Lancet Medical Journal recommending Vitamin E to treat women threatening to miscarry. Then, Dr. Shute, a young obstetrician and gynecologist in Canada ran research and became convinced that miscarriages were partly the result of degenerating blood vessels in the womb, which prevented the fetus from securely attaching itself to the placenta. This lead to a study on Vitamin E deficiency and cardiovascular disease. Results of vitamin E use and any conditions involving blood vessels and cardio diseases became too astounding to ignore.
Regardless, controversies have dogged vitamin E for years. The recommendations for vitamin E by well-know physicians have consistently been lost in the medical literature or squeezed out by more profitable heart drugs and surgery. Rather than ending up on blood thinning medication, I feel, many people could have prevented cardiovascular problems by supplementing with vitamin E. Now, when people end up on blood thinners like Coumadin they are advised not to take vitamin E or to eat spinach and other blood fortifying nutrients because they may interfere with the effects of Coumadin.
Now, we realize that vitamin E works as an antioxidant to protect cell damage by free radicals as in age spots and wrinkles from over exposure to the sun. Free radicals are produced when oxygen reacts with fatty acids in an uncontrolled way. Cell damage can be triggered by nutritional deficiencies or an overload of stress like exposure to food additives, air pollution, UV light, chemical toxins and radiation. We can safely say this nutrient is one of the best antioxidants available, which means it has great immune benefits and anticancer effects
Vitamin E is also a natural anticoagulant. It helps to prevent and dissolve life-threatening blood clots in the heart (coronary thrombi), lungs (pulmonary embolisms), brain (strokes), legs (phlebitis), and other organs. Vitamin E combats blood clots caused by oral contraceptives and reduces hemorrhoids. Even though vitamin E is a powerful anticoagulant, it won't turn the average person into a hemophiliac, one that bruises easily, shows a lack of clotting, and is prone to hemorrhage. Some studies have shown vitamin E to be helpful in Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
For women, vitamin E is good for fibrocystic breast disease, PMS, uterine and ovarian health problems and of course cardio and vascular health.
Good sources of vitamin E are wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, raw organic almonds or brazil nuts, olive oil, butter, chard, oatmeal, fresh asparagus, kale, brown rice, whole grains, and eggs. I think the natural E 400 to 800 IU's as a supplement way to go. This E will be predominantly d-alpha tocopheryl with some d-beta, d-delta and d-gamma tocopheryls as well. Recently d-gamma was identified as being particularly important in protecting the lungs against free radicals.
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