FHN Complementary Medicine Monthly Newsletter March 2003
Vitamin E Sense
With February being heart health month there was a lot written about vitamin E. Not all E's are created equal!! And more is not necessarily better.
Which form of this fat-soluble vitamin is best? The names of all types of vitamin E begin with either “d” or “dl,” which refer to differences in chemical structure. The “d” form is natural (also known as RRR-alpha tocopherol) and “dl” is synthetic (more correctly known as all-rac-alpha tocopherol). The natural form is more active and better absorbed, ( some studies show almost 2 times the activity).
After the “d” or “dl” designation, often the Greek letter “alpha” appears, which also describes the structure. Synthetic “dl” vitamin E is found only in the alpha form—as in “dl-alpha tocopherol.” Natural vitamin E may be found either as alpha—as in “d-alpha tocopherol”—or in combination with beta, gamma, and delta, labeled “mixed”—as in mixed natural tocopherols. Gamma tocopherol was found to be more effective than alpha tocopherol in protecting against certain specific types of oxidative damage.
Studies are usually done in the 400-1000 IU range (most studies unfortunately use the dl form which take 2 times as much to be active). There are some studies using 1600 IU's. Unless you have some fat absorbtion problems or some disease processes such as myasthenia gravis rarely would you need that much. Especially if you are using natural mixed forms.
In addition some experts believe that the dl form in dosages over 1000 IU's can cause some myalgia's, a rise in serum CK, and even some muscle necrosis. Most of which reverses when the high dosage is stopped.
So PLEASE use natural mixed tocopherols in 400-800 IU dosages. Your body will thank you!
Drs. Glenn and Julie Smith