There are a number of signs and symptoms of vitamin E deficiency. Some of these symptoms include neuromuscular problems, such as a loss of vibratory sensation and an absence of deep tendon reflexes to name but a few. Once you have a deficiency of vitamin E, it can also lead to anaemia because the red blood cells become damaged in oxidation. It can lead to a weakened immune system and retinopathy as well. Furthermore, evidence suggests that vitamin E deficiency can be a leading cause of infertility in men.
What Causes Vitamin E Deficiency?
It is actually very rare for someone to have a vitamin E deficiency and it is not believed that diet is the underlying cause. In fact, there are three situations where it is more common for Vitamin E deficiency to present itself. These are:
• In people who have medical conditions to stop them from absorbing fat in their diets.
• In babies who were very premature or had a very low birth weight (this would be below 3.5 pounds or 1,500 grams). This is generally investigated by a paediatrician, who will perform tests to determine whether the infant does or does not have sufficient levels of vitamin E.
• In people who have a fat metabolism disorder. This disorder is called Abetalipoproteinemia and is incredibly rare. It is more commonly referred to as vitamin E deficiency disease. This genetic condition stops sufferers from absorbing fats in their diet and they also cannot absorb vitamin E. Often, these people have muscle weakness, poor transmission of impulses of the nerves and they find their retina degenerates, leading to blindness. The other genetic condition in which this can happen is in people who have a mutation in the tocopherol gene. This gene transfers protein. As a result, people who suffer from this may develop serious neurological complications, but these can be reversed if a high dosage of vitamin E is prescribed.
Why Is Vitamin E so Important?
Vitamin E is a very important vitamin as it helps to protect our neurological pathways as well as the membranes of our cells. However, because it is rare for a person to actually have vitamin E deficiency, unless they have the medical history to support that, it is often a forgotten vitamin that many people never think about. In fact, when a person presents with what could be vitamin E deficiency symptoms, this is often overlooked by medical professionals, who believe it to be more likely that a different condition lies at the root of the problem.
Sources of Vitamin E and How Much You Should Take
Vitamin E is found in all sorts of foods. It is found mainly in different types of plant oils, including corn, soya and olive oil. Nuts and seeds also have high levels of vitamin E, as does wheat germ. Wheat germ is found in many different types of cereals. There are exact guidelines on the amount of vitamin E a person needs every day. These guidelines are:
• 3 mg per day for a woman
• 4 mg per day for a man
However, this is the amount of vitamin E you are likely to get from your diet. Because your body is also able to store vitamin E, there is no need to consume something rich in the vitamin every day, since your body can simply tap into its reserves.
Should I Take Supplements?
There are a number of reasons as to why you may considering taking vitamin e supplements. First of all, if you notice any vitamin E deficiency signs and your medical professional confirms this is what it is, it becomes very important to start taking prescribed supplements immediately. If you are noticing vitamin E deficiency symptoms, you need to seek medical attention. The other reason is if you feel that your diet will not allow you to consume any vitamin E in your diet for a prolonged period of time. Supplements are available from a range of different stores and locations, including holland&barrett.com.