Body builders have it right: vitamin E does help build strong muscles, and scientists appear to have figured out one important way it does it.
Vitamin E is one of the most widely used supplements, taken regularly by nearly a quarter of adults ages 55 and over. But recent research suggests that it may not do as much good in preventing cancer and other diseases as once thought, and it might actually cause harm.
A form of vitamin E found in vegetable oils like corn and canola may worsen lung function, while another form typically found in olive oil may protect it, a new study suggests. The findings may help explain why studies of the health effects of the vitamin have had conflicting results.
Researchers at UC Berkeley discovered vitamin E in 1922, and since then countless studies have been done on this still mysterious substance. Because its chief function seems to be as an antioxidant, neutralizing potentially harmful free radicals in the body, vitamin E became a superstar as the antioxidant theory of disease gained wider and wider attention.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis.
The occasional reports of harm from studies of high-dose vitamin E supplements highlight a question that researchers have been debating for years: Could high-dose vitamin E supplements potentially increase the risk of dying?
Vitamin E supplements are available in natural or man-made forms. The natural forms are usually labeled with the letter "d" (for example, d-gamma-tocopherol), whereas synthetic forms are labeled "dl" (for example, dl-alpha-tocopherol).
Vitamin E is an antioxidant. It plays a role in your immune system and metabolic processes. Vitamin E is also added to foods like cereals. Most people get enough vitamin E from the foods they eat. People with certain disorders, such as liver diseases, cystic fibrosis, and Crohn's disease may need extra vitamin E.
Vitamin E supplements may be harmful for people who take blood thinners and other medicines.
Vitamin E is found in a wide variety of foods. The richest sources are plant oils, such as soya, corn and olive oil.
Other good sources include:
•nuts and seeds
•wheat germ – found in cereals and cereal products
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