Vitamin E Help or Hurt?


Two different forms of Vitamin E

Vitamin E no doubt is a necessary and desirable part of your nutritional regimen. However, it should be noted that there are two different forms used in supplements. One our body’s love and the other causes a train wreck of DNA damage.

The two different types of vitamin E are called isomers. Isomers are molecules with the same chemical formula but different chemical structures.  The synthetic isomer of Vitamin E is called Dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate.

The synthetic Dl-alpha tocopherol is a byproduct of petrochemical dependent manufacturing. The naturally source vitamin E is called D-alpha-tocopherol and can be found in seeds, nuts, wheat germ, spinach and many other whole foods. As you can see the general consumer looking for the antioxidants support of vitamin E could and does easily look right over that subtle “l” after the “D.”

Synthetic Vitamin E Hurts

Following is a list of conclusions from different studies related to Dl-alpha-tocopherol. Essentially what you are going to find is that all the negative publicity towards Vitamin E if related to the synthetic Dl- form. Hopefully, this will help you make an educated decision and separate the hype from the help!

Dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate is less effective and less bioavailable than the natural form of vitamin E.

Dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate is a synthetic and inferior form of vitamin E.

Dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate is associated with increased risk for pneumonia in smokers.

Dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate supplementation is associated with an increase in ornithine decarboxylase activity, a marker for gastric carcinogenesis.

Dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate supplementation is associated with increased mortality in pancreatic cancer patients.

Dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate is associated with an increased incidence of hemorrhagic stroke.

Dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate does not reduce the progression of atherosclerosis in healthy individuals.

Dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate does not protect against chemotherapy-induced chromosome damage and reduces the level of plasma gamma tocopherol.

Dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate does not appears to normalize intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and antibodies to oxidized LDL in chronic smokers.

High dose dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate is detrimental to beta-carotene levels and doese not reduce oxidative stress in intensely exercised horses.

Dl-alpha-tocopheryl may contribute to DNA damage in the liver.

Dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate may have a toxic effect on erythroctyes exposed to oxidizing drugs.

Dl-alpha (synthetic) behaves quite differently on gene transcription in mouse T lymphocytes than does the d-alpha tocopherol (natural) form of vitamin E.

The acetate form of vitamin E, dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate, enhances the development of UV-B radiation induced skin cancer.

Naturally Sourced Vitamin E Helps

Now how about looking at a few of the positive benefits of naturally sourced Vitamin E.

  • Acts as powerful antioxidant
  • Helps recycle the mother of all antioxidants, glutathione
  • Helps relieve skin inflammation post sunburn
  • Decreases fibrosis caused by radiation and autoimmune disease
  • Improves liver disease caused by excess alcohol
  • May decrease risk of Parkinson’s disease
  • Decreases bleeding in the skull of premature infants
  • Aids in muscle performance and strength gains in elderly
  • Slows memory loss in Alzheimer’s

We are not recommending anybody start supplementing with vitamin E, but if you are please be sure to check your label and make sure it is d-alpha-tocopherol and not Dl-alpha-tocopherol!  But don’t stop there.  Make sure there is also mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols in your vitamin E supplement to get the full spectrum of benefits.