Do we need vitamin E?

The second individual vitamin I take is vitamin E. While I have a doctor’s recommendation for taking vitamin D supplements, deciding to take vitamin E was a personal choice. Fundamentally, the reason I take vitamin E is because I am a coeliac and I exercise.

Despite being discovered in 1922, the exact role of vitamin E has yet to be identified. Strangely, that’s because vitamin E deficiency in otherwise healthy people has never been identified. In nutrition as in medicine, we often learn more from people with deficiency diseases than we do from healthy people! That it is essential is clear from people with very rare inherited conditions, where the lack of vitamin E produces severe neurological problems. However, we also know vitamin E is a potent antioxidant.

Free radicals are created as the body’s cells use oxygen as an energy source. These highly reactive molecules then bounce around the body looking for another molecule to react with. Unfortunately, high levels of free radicals have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis and cataracts. The good news is that antioxidants such as vitamin E are able to neutralize these free radicals, making them harmless. There is even evidence that high levels of antioxidants can improve skin condition and slow down the ageing process.

As deficiency is rare, the government recommendation of 4mg a day for women and 3mg a day for men is somewhat arbitrary. Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin and is readily absorbed with fats in the intestine. As such, vegetable oils and nuts are the best sources of vitamin E, but it can also be found in wheat germ and sweet potatoes, and in small amounts in various vegetables. As wheat germ is such a good source of vitamin E, many people get much of their vitamin E from bread and cereal products. As a celiac, I clearly avoid all wheat products, so I don’t automatically get as much vitamin E as most Britons.

The other reason I take a supplement is the amount of exercise I do. During exercise the body uses more oxygen to produce the energy needed, which produces more free radicals. So to help my body recover as quickly as possible, I take extra antioxidants.

The Score for 3 March:

Calories: Protein: Carbs: Sugars: Fat: Sat Fat: Fibre: Alcohol:
2263 118.23g 201.14g 74.61g 82.42g 29.27g 31.65g 29.82g
21% 36%   33%   9%
     
Calories burned through exercise: 0      

 

What I ate:

Time Item Amount Calories Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre Fat Sat Fat Alcohol
07:30 Centrum Multivitamin,  Vitamin E 400IU, Vitamin D 25 µg
Tap water 250mL 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Soft boiled eggs, 2 large 125g 163 15.75 0.00 0.00 0.00 11.25 3.13 0.00
Free From pure oats 50g 171 6.40 30.30 0.60 4.30 2.70 0.50 0.00
made with boiling water 250mL 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Tesco mixed frozen fruits 100g 40 0.90 7.90 7.90 2.00 0.20 0.00 0.00
Ground flaxseeds 10g 45 2.21 0.30 0.18 2.37 4.00 0.45 0.00
09:00 Black Tea 350mL 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
11:30 Pulsin’ Protein snack bar, maple and peanut 50g 227 13.10 12.80 8.80 4.50 12.70 4.00 0.00
13:00 Tesco finest vine ripened tomato and lentil soup 300g 182 7.80 19.20 8.40 4.50 7.20 0.60 0.00
Nairns gluten free wholegrain crackers 28g 128 2.97 16.49 0.50 2.13 4.70 1.85 0.00
Skimmed milk 250mL 87 8.50 12.50 12.50 0.00 0.25 0.00 0.00
15:00 Nap
17:00 Yeo Valley natural yoghurt 150g 123 7.65 8.40 8.40 0.00 6.75 4.35 0.00
Natures Path Mesa Sunrise cereal 50g 195 5.00 40.00 6.50 5.00 1.65 0.25 0.00
Sliced nectarine 115g 52 1.64 10.53 10.53 1.40 0.12 0.00 0.00
Sunflower seeds 5g 30 1.04 0.57 0.13 0.43 2.58 0.23 0.00
Pumpkin seeds 5g 30 1.51 0.54 0.07 0.30 2.46 0.44 0.00
20:15 Poached trout fillet 82g 122 19.27 0.08 0.08 0.41 4.84 0.82 0.00
Brown basmati rice 130g 150 3.75 30.83 0.51 1.44 1.23 0.29 0.00
Kikkoman Tamari gluten free soy sauce 9g 4 0.90 0.18 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Steamed broccoli 40g 16 1.72 1.28 0.76 1.00 0.24 0.08 0.00
Steamed green beans 55g 17 1.16 1.71 1.21 1.87 0.22 0.00 0.00
Glass of rose wine 150mL 120 0.15 3.75 3.75 0.00 0.00 0.00 14.91
21:15 Tesco Parmigiano reggiano cheese 24g 96 7.78 0.00 0.00 0.00 7.13 4.70 0.00
Tesco extra mature cheddar 35g 145 8.89 0.04 0.04 0.00 12.22 7.60 0.00
Glass of rose wine 150mL 120 0.15 3.75 3.75 0.00 0.00 0.00 14.91

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