Vitamin E is a class of 10 chemicals. Like Vitamin C, Vitamin E is an important antioxidant, meaning it neutralizes harmful free radicals. It is also involved in the expression of some genes and signaling between cells. Some of its role remains a mystery, and for that reason it is sometimes treated as a panacea.
What Types of Food Have Vitamin E?
Vitamin E in the World: Sicilian Sickness
Vitamin E deficiency is very rare, except among a handful of families with a genetic disorder. Most of these families live in Morocco, Tunisia and Libya, but a few are Sicilian, and even fewer Albanian. The disease came to Europe when Abbasid Caliphate fleets from Tunisia conquered Sicily in 831. Along with oranges and lemons, the Arabs gave some of their genes to the Sicilians. After Normans conquered the island in 1071, they expelled Muslim Sicilians. Many fled to Albania, taking this unique gene with them.
Click on the buttons to see how Vitamin E plays a role in your:
- Digestive System
- General Cellular Function
Vitamins can be fat-soluble or water-soluble. Vitamin E is fat-soluble, which means it only dissolves in fat. This makes a big difference in how our body absorbs it. Here, we see vitamin E from our food entering our stomach.
The Vitamin E then moves from the stomach into our small intestine. Here, if it were water-soluble, it would move right into our cells, which are full of water. Since it doesn’t dissolve in water, it can’t be absorbed just yet.
General Cellular Function
You may have heard that antioxidants are good for you, but do you know why? Normal bodily processes, including metabolism and immune function, can generate potentially damaging by-products (called “free radicals” and “reactive oxygen species”). If left alone, these can harm your cells.