Vitamin E, a Family of Eight Antioxidants


Nutrient Family:

  • Vitamin

Vitamin E is made up of:

Family of 8
4 Tocopherols

  • Tocopherols

                 o   4 different types of tocopherols

                      §  alpha- tocopherols

                          >  most commonly found in supplements

                      §  beta- tocopherols

                      §  gamma- tocopherols 

                          >  most commonly found in supplements

                          >  abundant in  (organic, cold press) soy and corn oil

                      §  delta- tocopherols

4 Tocotrienols
  • Tocotrienols

                o   4 different types of tocotrienols

                     §  alpha-tocotrienol

                     §  beta-tocotrienol

                     §  gamma-tocotrienol

                     §  delta-tocotrienol

The differences are due to their chemical structures - different forms tackle for different diseases – for example :

  • alpha- tocopherols  - protect LDL from oxidation
  • tocotrienols – studies have shown that this type of Vitamin E can clean up clogged arteries.
  • gamma-tocopherols – prevent inflammation
  • gamma- tocopherols – are natural diuretics that helps body maintain normal mineral balance, which in turn helps protect against high blood pressure


Additionally, Vitamin E is available in both natural and synthetic forms.

  • The natural forms is recognized by the pre-fix “d” as in :

                  §  d-alpha

                  §  d-beta

                  §  d-gamma

                  §  d-delta

  • The synthetic forms carries pre-fix “dl”.


Vitamin E is one of the antioxidants in the Network Antioxidant team.


It is recycled by:

Vitamin E's Workings

Fat or Water Soluble Antioxidant: 

  • Fat Soluble


Other functions besides being an antioxidant:

  • It is used a oil preservative – preventing oil from going rancid
  • It is also an enzymatic activity regulator
  • It prevents platelets aggregation that can leads to clogging


Since its is fat soluble, it is unable to travel in the blood (which is primarily water) on its own. Vitamin E relies on lipoproteins (such as LDL and HDL) for transportation.


It’s a type of chain-breaking antioxidant (breaks the chain reactions of free radicals - see "Chain Breaking" in "What Are Antioxidant" page, for description).


Different workings of Tocopherols and Tocotrienols :

  • Tocotrienols work on independently whereas Tocopherols work in clusters, making it easier for tocotrienols to maneuver into cells.
  • Tocotrienols also recycle more easily than tocopherols


Due to the different workings of each both types of Vitamins E, and the different chemical structure of all 8 members, it is best that all 8 are consumed to ensure you get the full benefits of Vitamin E.


Additionally, sometimes certain activities deplete the body’s level of certain members of the Vitamin E causing ratio imbalance of Vitamin E in the body. For example, smoking depletes gamma-tocopherols, which in turn can cause mineral imbalance that can lead to high blood pressure.

Where Is Vitamin E Found Naturally?

Vitamin E is sourced  from plants.


Our body cannot produce Vitamin E and hence, we need to obtain them from foods or supplements.

Examples of food sources:

  • Wheat germ oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Almond oil
  • Sunflower seed
  • Almond
  • Hazelnut
  • Walnut oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Poppyseed oil
  • Peanut
  • Pollard
  • Maize
  • Poppy seed
  • Asparagus
  • Oats
  • Chestnut
  • Coconut
  • Tomatoes
  • Walnut
  • Carrots
  • Goat's milk

(food list - cite: Wikipedia)

Other Vitamin E rich foods:


Health Benefits of Vitamin E

Examples of the health benefits of Vitamin E:

  • Cancer fighter

                > Reduces risks of cancer – breast cancer, prostrate cancer

  • Replenish Vitamin E in smokers – typically needed is gamma-tocopherols
  • Blood pressure control

                > Swedish study shows that gamma-tocopherol aids in maintain high blood pressure.

  • Strengthen immune system

                > Aids in the production of T-cells and B-cells production, and improve their strength in older people.

  • Possible hope for Alzheimer’s disease

                > Lipid peroxidation in the brain cells leads to damages to the neurons in the cells as well as the neuron transmitters between the cells. Vitamin E being fat-soluble is able to flex its antioxidant strength to reduce damages caused by free radicals, and hence, reduce the risks of the disease advancing into the serious stage.

  • Counters damages from oxidative stress produced during exercise.
  • Cataract

                > Studies shown that Vitamin E can both reverse development of cataract as well as prevent the oxidation of the lens that leads to cataract.

  • Reliefs symptom of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases
  • Brain Protector

                >  As a fat-soluble Antioxidant and Vitamin, it works well in the brain where there are naturally lots of fatty acids.

  • Skin Savior

                > Protects the skin against the damaging effects of UV rays on the skin

  • Carotid stenosis (narrowing of the carotid artery)

                >  2-prong aid, with tocopherols protecting against oxidation of the LDL and tocotrienols cleaning  up the plague.

  • Heart Protector

                > Protects heart against heart diseases and prevention of second heart attacks for those already with existing heart disease. Again, using a 2-prong approach of preventing damages from oxidation and cleaning up when plague already formed.

Possible Interactions

It is suggested that it is best to ensure that you consume all 8 members of the Vitamin E family, as each is needed for different health support. Also, the imbalance of these members of this family may cause health issues, especially those with pre-existing health conditions.

Natural form of Vitamin E from food sources is the better source of Vitamin E. The synthetic form found in some supplements may not be suited for some, especially persons with pre-existing health conditions.


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