Deficiency of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a group of compounds (including tocopherols and tocotrienols) that have comparable biologic activities. The most biologically active is alpha-tocopherol, but beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherols, 4 tocotrienols, and numerous stereoisomers might likewise have important biologic activity.

These compounds function as antioxidants, which avoid lipid peroxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids in cellular membranes. Plasma tocopherol levels vary with total plasma lipid levels.

High-dose vitamin E supplements do not safeguard against cardiovascular disorders; whether supplements can protect versus tardive dyskinesia or increase or reduce the risk of prostate cancer is controversial. There is no convincing evidence that doses of as much as 2000 IU/day slow the progression of Alzheimer disease.

Although the amount of vitamin E in numerous fortified foods and supplements is given in IU, present recommendations are to use mg.Bread with sunflower seeds

Deficiency of Vitamin E

Dietary deficiency of vitamin E is common in developing nations; shortage amongst adults in industrialized nations is unusual and normally due to fat malabsorption. The primary symptoms are hemolytic anemia and neurologic deficits. Diagnosis is based upon determining the ratio of plasma alpha-tocopherol to total plasma lipids; a low ratio suggests vitamin E shortage. Treatment consists of oral vitamin E, given up high dosages if there are neurologic deficits or if shortage arises from malabsorption.

How Do You Get Enough Vitamin E From Food?

The Content of Vitamin E in 100 g of product

Vitamin E shortage causes fragility of RBCs and degeneration of neurons, particularly peripheral axons and posterior column nerve cells.

In developing nations, the most common cause of vitamin E shortage is inadequate intake of vitamin E. In industrialized nations, the most typical causes are disorders that cause fat malabsorption, including abetalipoproteinemia (Bassen-Kornzweig syndrome, due to genetic absence of apolipoprotein B), chronic cholestatic hepatobiliary disease, pancreatitis, brief bowel syndrome, and cystic fibrosis.

A rare hereditary type of vitamin E shortage without fat malabsorption results from malfunctioning liver metabolism.

Vitamin E Deficiency Causes

Absorption of vitamin E depends upon normal pancreatic biliary function, biliary secretion, micelle development, and penetration throughout intestinal membranes. Disturbance with any of these processes could lead to a deficiency state. Cystic fibrosis, abetalipoproteinemia, chronic cholestatic hepatobiliary disease, short-bowel syndrome, and isolated vitamin E shortage syndrome are all prospective causes of a shortage state. These conditions are identified as follows:

Cystic Fibrosis

This disease causes failure to produce adequate pancreatic enzymes, which causes steatorrhea. If measured, vitamin E levels are low; neurologic complications rarely are reported.


This is an unusual genetic, autosomal-recessive, innate error of lipoprotein production and transport. Babies present with steatorrhea from the time of birth. Patients have colored retinopathy and progressive ataxia, and they develop acanthosis of red blood cells in the first decade of life.

Chronic Cholestatic Hepatobiliary Disease

Profound deficits in babies as young as 2 years might result from this condition. Reduced bile circulation and micelle development cause malabsorption of vitamin E. Neurologic findings are less frequent in adult patients with cholestasis secondary to cirrhosis.

Short-Bowel Syndrome

This may develop from digestive tract pseudo-obstruction, surgical resection, or mesenteric vascular thrombosis. Only after 10-20 years of malabsorption do neurologic symptoms end up being clinically evident.

Isolated Vitamin E Shortage Syndrome

Developing in the lack of fat malabsorption, this syndrome is caused by an autosomal-recessive congenital disease including chromosome arm 8q. Neurologic findings establish within the first years of life, and no clinical findings identify shortage from ataxia and movement disorders. Vitamin replacement can considerably influence the outcome; for that reason, screening for the shortage is helpful for patients with motion conditions or neuropathies that are of unidentified cause.

Intramuscular administration of vitamin E is essential when vitamin E shortage takes place because of a low concentration of bile salts in the lumen of the small intestine; in such cases, patients are not able to absorb an oral preparation.

Vitamin E shortage usually is reversible in the early stages, however it can have severe complications if allowed to advance.

As a vitamin E shortage ends up being advanced, the patient’s response to therapy will end up being more minimal. It is for that reason required for patients who are at risk for a deficiency to undergo an extensive neurologic assessment, as well as regular screening of serum vitamin E levels.Wheat

Signs and Symptoms of Deficiency of Vitamin E

The main symptoms of vitamin E deficiencyare mild hemolytic anemia and nonspecific neurologic deficits. Abetalipoproteinemia results in progressive neuropathy and retinopathy in the first 2 years of life.

Vitamin E shortage might add to retinopathy of prematurity (also called retrolental fibroplasia) in premature babies and to some cases of intraventricular and subependymal hemorrhage in neonates. Affected premature neonates have muscle weakness.

In children, chronic cholestatic hepatobiliary disease or cystic fibrosis causes neurologic deficits, including spinocerebellar ataxia with loss of deep tendon reflexes, truncal and limb ataxia, loss of vibration and position senses, ophthalmoplegia, muscle weakness, ptosis, and dysarthria.

In adults with malabsorption, vitamin E deficiency very seldom causes spinocerebellar ataxia because adults have large vitamin E shops in fat.

Vitamin E Deficiency Diagnosis

Low alpha-tocopherol level or low ratio of serum alpha-tocopherol to serum lipids

Without a history of inadequate consumption or an inclining condition, deficiency of vitamin E is not likely. Verification typically needs determining the vitamin level. Determining RBC hemolysis in action to peroxide can suggest the diagnosis however is nonspecific. Hemolysis increases as vitamin E shortage hinders RBC stability.

Determining the serum alpha-tocopherol level is the most direct approach of diagnosis. In adults, vitamin E deficiency is recommended if the alpha-tocopherol level is < 5 mcg/mL (< 11.6 mcmol/L). Since abnormal lipid levels can impact vitamin E status, a low ratio of serum alpha-tocopherol to lipids (< 0.8 mg/g total lipid) is the most precise sign in adults with hyperlipidemia.

In children and adults with abetalipoproteinemia, serum alpha-tocopherol levels are typically undetectable.

Treatment Vitamin E Deficiency

Supplemental alpha-tocopherol or blended tocopherols (alpha-, beta-, and gamma-tocopherols).

If malabsorption causes scientifically evident deficiency, alpha-tocopherol 15 to 25 mg/kg po once/day should be given. Or combined tocopherols (200 to 400 IU) can be offered. Nevertheless, bigger doses of alpha-tocopherol offered by injection are required to treat neuropathy during its early stages or to conquer the problem of absorption and transport in abetalipoproteinemia.

Side Effects Vitamin E


Numerous adults take reasonably big quantities of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol 400 to 800 mg/day) for months to years without any obvious harm. Occasionally, muscle weakness, tiredness, nausea, and diarrhea occur. The most substantial risk is bleeding. However, bleeding is uncommon unless the dosage is > 1000 mg/day or the patient takes oral coumarin or warfarin. Hence, the ceiling for adults aged ≥ 19 year is 1000 mg for any kind of alpha-tocopherol.

Analyses of previous research studies report that high vitamin E consumptions might increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke and sudden death.

Health Tips

Although premature neonates may need supplementation, human milk and business solutions have enough vitamin E for full-term neonates.

Vitamin E deficiency is usually caused by insufficient dietary intake in establishing countries or by a condition triggering fat malabsorption in industrialized countries.

The shortage causes mainly mild hemolytic anemia and nonspecific neurologic deficits.

In patients with inadequate intake or an inclining condition plus compatible findings, determine the tocopherol level to verify the diagnosis.

Treat with supplemental tocopherol.

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