Vitamin E Serum Test
Test for Vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects body tissue from damage caused by unstable substances called free radicals.
Vitamin E is found naturally in some foods, added to others, and also available as a dietary supplement. "Vitamin E" is the collective name for a group of fat-soluble compounds that have distinctive antioxidant activities. Serum concentrations of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) depend on the liver, which takes up the nutrient after the various forms have been absorbed from the small intestine.
The liver preferentially resecretes only alpha-tocopherol via the hepatic alpha-tocopherol transfer protein and then the liver metabolizes and excretes the other vitamin E forms. In result, blood and cellular concentrations of other forms of vitamin E are lower than those of alpha-tocopherol and have been researched less. Antioxidants protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, molecules that contain an unshared electron. Free radicals damage cells and may contribute to the development of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Unshared electrons are highly energetic and rapidly react with oxygen to form reactive oxygen species (ROS). The body forms ROS endogenously when it converts food to energy, and antioxidants may protect cells from the damaging effects of ROS.
The body is exposed to free radicals from environmental exposures as well, such as ultraviolet radiation from the sun, cigarette smoke, and air pollution. ROS are part of signaling mechanisms that are among cells. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that stops the production of ROS that are formed when fat undergoes oxidation. Scientists are investigating whether, vitamin E might help prevent or delay chronic diseases associated with free radicals.
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