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Alpha-tocopherol, Tocopherol

Vitamin E

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol, tocopherol) is a fat-soluble vitamin (soluble in cell fat) that has essential antioxidant properties. It helps maintain the membranes of blood vessels and the nervous system, both high-fat structures, and protects vitamin A from oxidation. It plays a role in strengthening the immune system and helps prevent the development of certain chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and possibly cancer. Vitamin E is generally obtained through diet, and deficiencies are rare (abnormal diet, intestinal malabsorption). Vitamin E levels are expressed in micromoles per litre of blood (µmol/L). In a blood sample taken after 12 to 14 hours of fasting, measured levels reflect the body’s reserves of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol, tocopherol). Reference values provided in the report are from fasting individuals.

Vitamin E deficiency can lead to generally reversible nervous system problems (motor-sensory neuropathy) in children and possibly adults.

The toxicity of vitamin E has not been clearly established, but regular ingestion of supplements has been suspected in thrombophlebitis.

Term of the Week

Predictive medicine

Medicine that links medical knowledge with data to predict a patient’s potential health problems. Examples include artificial intelligence and genetics.