What is Vitamin E deficiency?
The body needs vitamin E to function, which becomes an essential vitamin. It is fat-soluble, which means that fat must be properly absorbed from the diet. Vitamin E is primarily released into the bloodstream before being stored in the liver.
The error is unusual and is generally the result of an underlying condition. Some premature babies also have low levels.
Vitamin E comes in eight chemical forms. With a blood test, a doctor can find out how much a person has a form called alpha-tocopherol. With this information, they can determine a person’s total vitamin E level.
Normal levels usually range from 5.5 to 17 milligrams (mg/L) per litre. The general range may be different for premature babies and children under 17 years of age. Normal ranges can vary slightly in labs as well.
When an adult has less than 4 mg/L of vitamin E in their blood, they usually need a replacement.
How to correct the deficiency?
You should only try to suspect a vitamin E deficiency after consulting your doctor. Supplements can cause problems, so it is best to eat a healthy diet that includes lots of foods high in vitamin E.
You can find vitamin E in a wide variety of foods. In addition to:
Nuts and seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and peanut butter
- Vegetable oils, especially olive and sunflower
- Green leafy vegetables
- Fortified cereals
Although taking supplements is a popular way to include vitamins and minerals in your diet, you should be careful when taking vitamin E in supplement form.
Supplements in the USA are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so it is difficult to determine the quality of the ingredients.
Even if you buy the supplement from a well-known brand, it will likely interfere with other medications you are taking.
Some drugs that affect:
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Radiation therapy drugs
Because they are not regulated, it may not be clear what vitamin E you are getting. For example, some supplements contain only one type of vitamin E. Your body needs other types that are found in different food sources. It is always a good idea to get your nutrients from whole foods rather than supplements.
Concentrated medications, not multivitamins, may contain more vitamin E than you need. This can lead to side effects and lead to more problems.
Why is vitamin E deficiency important?
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties that helps keep your immune system strong. It occurs naturally in a wide variety of foods and can also be added to certain food products to help you increase your intake.
Because of this, it is very rare for you to be deficient in vitamin E. High doses of vitamin E increase the risk of bleeding.
See your doctor if you start to experience the following error symptoms:
- Problems with gait or coordination
- Muscle pain or weakness
- Visual disturbances
- General illness
How much vitamin E deficiency do you need?
Adults and children over the age of 14 need 15 milligrams (mg) of vitamin E per day.
Children under this age require a small daily dose:
- From 1 to 3 years: 6 mg/day
- From 4 to 8 years: 7 mg/day
- From 9 to 13 years: 11 mg/day
- 19 mg per day for lactating women
Combining certain foods each day can help you get your vitamin E. For example:
- One ounce of sunflower seeds contains 7.4 mg of vitamin E
- Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 2.9 mg of vitamin E
- Half a cup of spinach contains 1.9 mg of vitamin E
Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency
Low levels of vitamin E include:
Muscle weakness: Vitamin E is essential for the central nervous system. It is one of the main antioxidants in the body and its deficiency can cause oxidative stress, which can cause muscle weakness.
Coordination and gait difficulties: A defect that causes certain neurons called Purkinje neurons to break down, affecting their ability to transmit signals.
Numbness and tingling: Damage to nerve fibres can prevent nerve signals from being transmitted properly, resulting in these sensations, also known as peripheral neuropathy.
Vision Loss: Vitamin E deficiency weakens the light receptors in the retina and other cells of the eye. This can lead to vision loss over time.
Immune system problems: Some research suggests that a lack of vitamin E suppresses immune cells. The elderly can be at special risk.
Muscle weakness and coordination difficulties are neurological symptoms that cause damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems.
The peripheral system is a neural network beyond the brain and spinal cord. These neurons send messages throughout the body.
The central nervous system communicates between the brain and the spinal cord.
The sheaths of neurons are made up primarily of fat. When there is too little vitamin E in the body, there are fewer antioxidants that protect these fats and the function of the nervous system is impaired.
Causes of vitamin E deficiency
Vitamin E deficiency is often hereditary. Knowing your family history makes it easier to diagnose some rare hereditary diseases. In both diseases, congenital abetalipoproteinemia and isolated familial vitamin E deficiency are chronic and cause very low levels of vitamin E.
Vitamin E deficiency can also be caused by diseases that severely reduce fat absorption. The body needs fat to properly absorb vitamin E.
Some of these diseases are:
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Celiac disease
- Cholestatic liver disease
- Cystic fibrosis
The deficiency is also seen in newborns and premature babies with low birth weight and low-fat content.
Premature babies are at particular risk because the immature digestive system interferes with the absorption of fat and vitamin E.
Vitamin E deficiencies in these babies lead to hemolytic anemia, which destroys red blood cells.
It is very rare for a person to have low levels of vitamin E unless they have a chronic disease, a genetic condition, or a low-fat diet. For others, the supplement may not be necessary.
Vitamin E is abundant in a wide variety of foods. It is not produced by the body, so it must be obtained from food or supplements. This will be recommended by the nutritionist.
Foods that contain vitamin E:
- Vegetable oils, wheat germ oil, peanut oil, and olive oil
- Walnut seeds
- Lots of vegetables, like spinach, chard, red pepper, and avocado
Taking too many fat-soluble supplements is dangerous.
A person should not take high doses of fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K.
High levels of vitamin E can lead to abnormal bleeding, muscle aches, diarrhoea, and vomiting. Bleeding increases the risk of stroke and premature death.
Vitamin E is highly toxic to the blood, interacting with warfarin and chemotherapy drugs.
A person should inform the doctor about all the supplements and vitamins that he takes daily. Do not exceed the recommended dosage of supplements unless prescribed by a doctor.