Vitamin E for heart health has often been in the news. This well known vitamin has antioxidant properties which are important for cardiovascular health. Research and various scientific studies have shown that it helps in atherosclerosis and even prevent blood clots. Both are factors which can cause cardiac disease and heart attacks.
What are the benefits of Vitamin E?
Heart disease has a high mortality rate. And if you have been diagnosed with any heart problem you can be sure that your daily life is impacted to some extent. It makes sense to prevent heart problems from occurring in the first place and maintain heart health.
Vitamin E prevents many problems associated with cardiovascular disease including angina, rheumatic heart disease. It has high antioxidant properties, helps with free radicals and crucial to maximize the levels of nitric oxide (NO) production. It primarily works by preventing the hardening of arteries and formation of blood clots which are the leading cause of heart attacks.
Getting Vitamin E from foods
Vitamin E is available in various foods. A fat soluble vitamin, it can be found in oils like wheat germ oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil and safflower oil. It is also available in peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts and sunflower seeds. Few vegetables and fruits like spinach, tomato, broccoli, mango and kiwi have small quantities of Vitamin E.
Unfortunately many of the food sources which offer a sufficient quantity of the daily requirement of Vitamin E are also high in calories, often leading to many people on restricted diets just not getting enough.
Consider that if you take one and a half to two ounces of roasted nuts they will be worth 300-400 calories. And if the nuts are salted, caramelized or sweetened or covered with chocolate, you are adding even more to the calorie content. If you use unrefined and cold pressed nut oils (which are best) in salad dressings or pastas, you will add to your daily calorie count. The risks then will outweigh the benefits.
How to make sure you are getting enough
Not surprisingly, Vitamin E supplements are among the fastest selling supplements which are available without a prescription.
Different types of Vitamin E
Vitamin E is available in four tocopherols and four tocotrienols forms. Of these, the commonly available Vitamin E is alpha-tocopherol. It can be in synthetic form and called (dl)alpha-tocopherol. In fact it is this form of Vitamin E which has been the subject of many studies. Or natural or semi-natural form as a (d)alpha-tocopherol. Natural form is more active then synthetic.
Another form is gamma tocopherol, which now recognized as more powerful as alpha-tocopherol, especially against diseases associated with aging. In particular gamma tocopherol improves endothelial function and as a result increases nitric oxide production.
Some studies have been shown that tocotrienols are also very powerful and beneficial for cardiovascular and general health.
Which kind is good for you?
All forms of Vitamin E are good for you. But if you take only alpha-tocopherol, while it will offer cardiovascular protection, it may not be sufficient.
Gamma-tocopoherol has more anti-inflammatory properties and is also beneficial for the heart. In fact some studies have shown that gamma tocopherol may have a very important role to play in protecting against heart disease. More studies are required on the role gamma-tocopherols and other constituents of Vitamin E play.
As most of the cheapest varieties of Vitamin E contain synthetic forms of (dl) alpha-tocopherol, you should avoid them. Here is some tip to help you remember synthetic form: Two letters dl can be translate into “does less”. Easy to remember and avoid it.
The conclusion is: better to get supplements which are from plant sources and also offer mixed Vitamin E.
Herbalife’s Core Complex is a supplement which offers mixed tocopherols which are better for health. Additionally it offers krill oil, fish oils and other vitamins which offer protection against a host of diseases including some forms of cancer, heart disease and age related macular degeneration.
How supplements help
Supplements help by ensuring that you are taking in enough of Vitamin E for heart health and its optimum functioning. This is particularly important if you do not eat right or do not eat a sufficient quantity of food which will give you the benefits of this vitamin.
RDA recommend vitamin E dosage: 12 IU for women and 15 IU for men. But this is not enough. Some studies indicate that therapeutic doses of vitamin E for heart health can be higher as 1000 IU without side effects.
In fact research on 40,000 women showed that those who were taking only 600 IU of Vitamin E every alternate day for 10 years are 24 percent less likely to die of cardiac problems.
Some studies indicate that daily doses of 400 IU or higher may be more susceptible to heart disease and other illnesses.
Lou Ignarro, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Herbalife Scientific Advisory Board, author of bestseller “No more heart disease” recommend 200 mg a day of vitamin E for heart health and for NO (nitric oxide) production.
You have to do whatever you can to protect yourself from unwanted problems. If that means taking a few pills regularly you should do so.
Heart Healthy Foods and You. Taking into account heart healthy foods can make the difference on the short as well as on the long.
If you are not sure whether Vitamin E is preventing heart diseases, read on here. Vitamin E and heart diseases prevention.
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