The Vitamin E Effect

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Written By Lisa S. Jones / Reviewed By Ray Spotts          

Vitamin E is a nutrient important to vision, reproduction, and the health of the skin, brain and blood. It is taken specifically for arthritis, preventing the skin from aging, reduced joint degeneration in rheumatism as well as protection against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin E is an antioxidant as it is known to neutralize free radicals that look to damage the cells in their search for stability. However, the positive effects of vitamin E have oftentimes failed to manifest as strongly as expected.

An international team of researchers has now found a possible cause for this. It has shown that the effect of vitamin E, which is taken as a tablet or capsule, is not based on the vitamin itself, but rather on the effect of a metabolite - alpha-carboxychromanol – which has a promising anti-inflammatory effect. The researchers have published their results in the specialist journal Nature Communications.

Results depend on how much of the bioactive metabolite is produced. This is why the same vitamin E dosage has a particular effect on one individual and a different effect on another. "Vitamin E is an antioxidant; it neutralizes cell-damaging free radicals," explains Dr. Andreas Koeberle of Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) and a biochemist at the Chair of Pharmaceutical/Medicinal Chemistry. “However, although this has been sufficiently corroborated in cell and animal models under laboratory conditions, vitamin E has so far failed to convince in clinical studies. Here, we find very heterogeneous results. Not just that the positive effects often fail to manifest themselves as strongly as expected, but sometimes administering vitamin E actually has detrimental effects."

Understanding Alpha-Carboxychromanol

In most medical conditions, a patient’s metabolism is first characterized and then it becomes a possibility to achieve therapeutic success not just with the use of vitamin E but with greater precision. In other studies, the anti-inflammatory effects were explained stating the potential of the alpha-carboxychromanol. The bioactive metabolite inhibits a key enzyme responsible for inflammatory processes - 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) plays a big part in inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and asthma. This is a big step in the right direction. Most of the drugs that prevent inflammation have strong side-effects making their use limited and leaving room for just one authorized drug at the moment.

Alpha-carboxychromanol is produced in the liver. "However, the degree to which this occurs varies greatly from one patient to another," added Prof. Oliver Werz, who led the study together with Dr. Koeberle. As the Jena researchers have shown, the level of the metabolite in the blood of participants ranges widely between individuals. "If the effect of vitamin E depends on how much of the bioactive metabolite is produced, this explains very well why the same amount of vitamin E has a particular effect in one person and perhaps a much more limited effect in another," adds Werz. These findings underpin how useful personalized medicine could be. "If we first characterize a patient's metabolism, it will be possible to achieve therapeutic success - and not just with vitamin E - with much greater precision," Werz added.

As highlighted earlier, vitamin E is a very strong drug most of the time with side effects which vary from individual to individual. Overdosage is not an option as it can do more harm than good in the process. Inflammation is a very serious issue and knowing this can be a solution and using it is a step in the right direction. This is a promising finding, according to Koeberle, because 5-LO plays a central role in inflammatory diseases such as asthma or arthritis. "However, to date there is only one authorized drug that inhibits 5-LO, but due to its strong side effects, its use is very limited." The researchers in Jena want to use their findings to develop a new drug candidate for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. A first active substance derived from alpha-carboxychromanol has already been patented, according to Koeberle.

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Written By:

Lisa S. Jones is a certified nurse, nutritionist, fitness coach and health expert. Her training credentials include a B.Sc. in Nursing from California State University in 2013 and Youth Nutrition Specialist Certification from the American Fitness Professionals and Associates in 2015. In 2017, she also received Holistic Nutrition Certification from the American Fitness Professionals and Associates.

Reviewed By:

Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.


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