Thread: Vitamin E
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Old 11-01-2004, 08:08 AM #4 (permalink)
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Beyond Alpha Tocopherol
The Role of Tocopherols and Tocotrienols in Nutrition and Health

Andreas M. Papas, Ph.D.

Eastman Chemical Company

Dr. Papas, a Senior Technical Associate for Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, TN, and an Adjunct Professor at James Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, provided a stimulating presentation on the role of tocopherols and tocotrienols in nutrition and health. Dr. Papas is a well established expert in his field, among his many academic honors, he was named a Fulbright Scholar from 1969-1973. His research focuses on antioxidants, particularly tocopherols and tocotrienols in health and nutrition, and in 1999 he published a book entitled The Vitamin E Factor.

Dr. Papas gave a brief overview of the vitamin E family of compounds, emphasizing alpha-tocopherol as the predominant and most active form of vitamin E. The vitamin E family consists of two main categories: tocopherols and tocotrienols. These two main categories contain four members each, alpha, beta, gamma or delta, based on differences in their chemical structures. Alpha and beta-tocopherols and alpha-tocotrienols appear to exhibit the most vitamin E activity. Although tocopherols have been more thoroughly studied, tocotrienols are the focus of increasing research interest and have also demonstrated unique health effects.

Dr. Papas reviewed the biological effects of both tocopherols and tocotrienols with respect to breast, prostate, leukemia and melanoma cancer cells. In addition, he reviewed their numerous beneficial effects in maintaining blood cholesterol levels, decreasing inflammation, and improving function of the cardiovascular system through their antioxidant capabilities. Recent research also suggests that tocopherols and tocotrienols may improve cognitive function in subjects with Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Papas urged the audience to eat a balanced healthy diet with more fruits and vegetables. In addition, he recommended supplementation with vitamin E as follows:

100 IU alpha-tocopherol + 100 mg mixed tocopherols for individuals without a history of coronary heart disease (CHD)
200 IU alpha-tocopherols + 200 mg mixed tocopherols for individuals with some risk factors for CHD, and
400 IU alpha-tocopherols + 400 mg mixed tocopherols for individuals at high risk for CHD.
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