Vitamin E is an important component of our antioxidant system. It is considered a master antioxidant because:
Tocopherols are chain-breaking antioxidants – they break the chain reaction of lipid peroxidation, the process that turns lipid rancid.
The structure of vitamin E makes it unique and indispensable in protecting cell membranes. Vitamin E, primarily alpha-tocopherol, anchors itself strategically in the membrane with the hydrophobic (water hating) tail in the interior of the membrane. The hydrophilic (water loving) head is in the hydrophilic area of the membrane.
Vitamin E is the master inhibitor of oxidation of the bad cholesterol LDL - which is believed to be the first step in atherosclerosis.
Vitamin E inhibits the activity of the enzyme PKC (protein kinase C) which is associated with inflammation.
Vitamin E exhibits anticoagulant properties. Oxidized alpha-tocopherol (called alpha-tocopheryl quinone) is also a powerful anticoagulant.
Vitamin E compounds reduce the production of inflammatory compounds such as prostaglandins.
Vitamin E increases superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in plasma and arterial tissues as well as Mn SOD and Cu/Zn SOD protein expression in arterial tissues. SOD is a major antioxidant enzyme.
Vitamin E increases nitric oxide (NO) generation and nitric oxide synthase (cNOS) activity. NO is important for cardiovascular health because in atherosclerosis, the endothelium has a reduced capacity to produce NO.
Of all natural Antioxidants, Vitamin E is most potent in quenching nitrogen radicals. These radicals are major culprits in arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS) and diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s.
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