Vitamin E: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • Author: Melania Tesio
  • Published: 09 June 2014
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Respiratory Research
thumbnail image: Vitamin E: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that exists in different forms such as γ-tocopherol and α-tocopherol. The first variant is contained in corn, canola, and soybean oils. The second one, instead, is abundant in olive and sunflower oils.

Joan Cook-Mills, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, USA, and colleagues revealed that the two vitamin E forms exert opposite roles on the respiratory function. The researchers demonstrated that elevated blood concentrations of γ-tocopherol are associated to a 10–17 % reduction of the lung function and, as a consequence, to a lower breathing capacity. In contrast, high levels of α-tocopherol are linked to a better lung function.
As a consequence, a diet rich in olive oil might keep lungs healthy, while a diet rich in soy oil may be linked to respiratory problems.

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