Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and has antioxidant properties. It is a group of 8 vitamins that can prevent oxidative stress in the body. Our body needs vitamin E to help keep the immune system strong against viruses and bacteria. Vitamin E is used by the cells to interact with each other and carry out many important functions.
When the required amounts of vitamins in the body aren’t met, it can lead to severe health problems. An individual with this deficiency should consult a physician for proper diagnosis and prescribe treatment.
The daily requirement of vitamin E can be met by consuming wheat germ, sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean oils, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts/filberts, seeds, spinach and broccoli, breakfast cereals, fruit juices, margarine, and spreads.
Vitamin E Deficiency Causes
If your daily intake of Vitamin E is below recommended levels, it leads to Vitamin E deficiency since the vitamin is required for many vital bodily functions. Hence, you should consume the proper amount or take a supplement. Deficiency of the essential vitamin usually happens due to poor diet habits – that is a diet deficient in fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E deficiency is a very serious problem and should be treated with natural foods or dietary supplements.
Other factors that may cause Vitamin E deficiency include:
1. Diseases related to liver, gall bladder, or pancreas.
2. Low fat and processed foods.
Newborn babies, especially those who are born prematurely might also show Vitamin E deficiency.
[ Read: Vitamin E Rich Foods ]
Vitamin E Deficiency Symptoms
1. Low levels of vitamin E can cause many digestive system problems, which will lead to poor absorption of nutrients from the digestive tract. This leads to diseases in the pancreas, liver, gall bladder, etc.
2. Nervous system related problems in hands, legs, arms, and feet.
3. Pain, tingling, loss of sensation, gastrointestinal diseases.
4. Dry hair or loss of hair.
5. Muscular weakness.
6. Slow tissue healing.
7. Leg cramps.
This daily limit of vitamin E applies to all individuals age 19 and older. The deficiency of Vitamin E can be prevented by consuming a proper diet. Vitamin E deficiency patients can take oral supplements for a certain period of time.
[ Read: Vitamin C Deficiency ]
Vitamin E Deficiency Diseases & Treatment
Anemia can be explained as a blood disorder, which occurs due to the low amount of red blood cells present in the blood. Red blood cells (RBCs) are required for hemoglobin to transport oxygen to other parts of the body. Oxygen is essential for cellular respiration. Vitamin E deficiency can cause birth defects, hemolytic anemia, and degradation of the red blood cells.
2. Poor Balance
Vitamin E is also a great antioxidant; its deficiency can cause oxidation stress on cells or tissues. This is harmful to many parts of the body. Vitamin E deficiency also leads to central nervous system breakdown, poor reflexes, nerve degeneration of the hands and feet, impaired coordination, and loss of balance.×
3. Hair Loss
Vitamin E is vital for good blood circulation. Good circulation feeds the scalp, and hair follicles and keeps them healthy. Its deficiency can cause hair loss. Vitamin E can be obtained from olive and canola oil, soybeans, nuts, and seeds. Cooked dried beans, kidney, pinto, garbanzo, and black beans are also sources of vitamin E.
4. Dry skin
Vitamin E is widely known and is an important ingredient in all our lotions and moisturizers. Vitamin E deficiency can cause dry skin.
Antioxidants like vitamin E can reduce side effects or improve the effectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy. A prolonged vitamin E deficiency can greatly increase the incidence of cancer- especially breast and oral cancers.
6. Muscle Weakness
Vitamin E deficiency can cause myopathy, where the muscular fibers do not function and go weak.
[ Read: Vitamin E Benefits ]
7. Leg Cramps
Leg cramps can be explained as the sudden, painful, and involuntary contraction of the muscles. Foot and leg cramps are common in men and women alike. Cramping usually is seen after the exertion of pressure. Nocturnal leg cramps are usually observed at night or when muscles are at rest.
A deficiency of Vitamin E in person is sometimes related to heart disease. Lack of Vitamin E can lead to atherosclerosis in children.
Vitamin E deficiency can cause vision problems too. This includes retinal thinning or degeneration, which causes damage to the lining of the eye. Vitamin E deficiency can sometimes also result in blurred vision and difficulty seeing at night.
11. Fertility Problems
Vitamin E maintains the health of the reproductive system. Vitamin E deficiency can lead to abortions, miscarriages, and infertility. Men can suffer from enlarged prostate, impotence, and sterility. Babies who are born with a vitamin E deficiency can have anemia with shiny skin, puffy eyes, firm legs, and low birth weight.
Vitamin E is important for a healthy immune system. Vitamin E is useful to improve the immune system. It builds antibodies with selenium. The deficiency of this vitamin can cause infectious diseases, and the patient will have a harder time recovering from illness.