Vitamin E is one of those essential vitamins that provides multiple benefits for our health and well being, from supporting our immune system to fighting off free radicals. Can these benefits be extended to our cardiovascular health and fight off cardiovascular diseases too?
What is Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble vitamins that is essential for maintaining and supporting our immune system and is a potent antioxidant that prevents free radicals from breaking down our cells. Free radicals, which come from our environment are things like pollution, smoking, UV rays, and radiation. Free radicals have been associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer and more.
How Vitamin E Supports Our Cardiovascular System
Vitamin E has traditionally been viewed as a preventive treatment for cardiovascular disease due to its antioxidant properties. In studies performed on mice, vitamin E has been shown to increase oxidative resistance in vitro and prevent the build up of fats and cholesterol and other substances in and on the artery walls. In humans, the consumption of foods rich in vitamin E has been associated with lower risk of coronary heart disease in middle-aged to older men and women, though it has not been shown to have an affect on the primary or secondary preventions of cardiovascular disease which related to diet, lifestyle choices, and the reduction of the impact of the disease with early diagnosis.
Vitamin E has been shown to help individuals who are under high levels of oxidative stress such as those on for those on hemodialysis and diabetics with a Hp 2-2 genotype whose risk of cardiovascular disease is five times higher than diabetics without this genotype. Vitamin E supplementation for these types of individuals appear to have significant benefits.
Vitamin E Supplementation
Due to vitamin E’s antioxidant properties, studies are often performed to determine if vitamin E supplementation can assist with cardiovascular diseases. While consuming foods rich in vitamin E can help minimise the risk of heart disease, you should talk to your doctor before taking a vitamin E supplementation. Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin which means that excessive consumption can lead to toxicity which can result in muscle and nerve damage. There are variety of studies that have been published that offer conflicting information on vitamin E supplementation as well, so the best thing to do if you’re considering supplementing with vitamin E is to take your doctor’s recommendations and lead a healthy lifestyle with plenty of wholesome foods and exercise.
Great Food Sources of Vitamin E
Best: dark green leafy vegetables, wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, abalone, avocado, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds.
Good: oatmeal, soybeans, wheat and wheat germ, brown rice, sweet potatoes, watercress.
How To Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
- Get regular check ups with your doctor.
- Stop the use of smoking and tobacco products.
- Get your lipid profile assessed.
- Eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants.
- Exercise regularly and avoid sitting for extensive periods of time.
- Maintain an appropriate weight
- If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, ensure that they are under control.
- Ask your doctor to do a blood test to detect high-sensitivity c-reactive protein a general marker of arterial inflammation an indicator of heart disease
Vitamin E supplementation can assist those who are under high levels of oxidative stress in reducing cardiovascular disease risks, if you are interested in the benefits of vitamin E and are not sure if you should take a supplement or not, talk to your doctor for more information.