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4 Symptoms of Vitamin E Deficiency

Vitamin E is a group of lipid-soluble compounds -- tocopherols and tocotrienols -- with very important roles in keeping us healthy and young-looking through its action as an antioxidant. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oil, avocado, and nuts which contain the said substances. These are essential nutrients because the body cannot produce vitamin E on its own.

Vitamin E deficiency is technically a disorder that may be inherited. Being deficient in it means that the body is impaired in absorbing fats that usually carry these fat-loving compounds. Vitamin E deficiency due to poor nutrition is very rare, but still possible, especially in underdeveloped countries. Here are 4 symptoms of vitamin E deficiency:

1. Anemia

Anemia is a blood disorder wherein there is a low amount of red blood cells present in the blood. Red blood cells (RBCs) are important element of the blood because through hemoglobin, RBCs transport oxygen to other parts of the body. Oxygen is needed for cellular respiration. Hemolytic anemia is an anemia where red blood cells are abnormally broken down.

In research findings, there was a link with infants who have pronounced low birth weight and vitamin E deficient. This deficiency leads to hemolytic anemia, which, in turn, triggers the degradation of the red blood cells. Administration of doses of vitamin E proved to be helpful in treating these infants. They were treated with tocopherols to help them absorb the vitamin E.

2. Poor Balance

Vitamin E works as an antioxidant, thus deficiency in this vitamin will result to a series of great oxidative stress by many cells or tissues. This could lead to damage in many parts of the body. This could be observed in people who have vitamin E deficiencies and are suffering from certain neurologic effects of their case. Vitamin E deficiency affects the central nervous system. Thus, a person greatly lacking vitamin E will experience nerve degeneration of the hands and feet, poor reflexes, impaired coordination, and loss of balance.

3. Muscle Weakness

Another symptom of vitamin E deficiency is myopathy, wherein the muscular fibers do not function well or are weakened. There was even a study involving guinea pigs wherein the combined deficiency in selenium and vitamin E levels resulted to fatal myopathy and increased lipid peroxidation.

4. Sight Problems

Vitamin E deficiency may also lead to vision problems. One of the symptoms is retinal thinning or degeneration, where the inner lining of the eye is damaged and begins to become thinner. People with an vitamin E deficiency may also experience blurred vision and difficulty seeing at night.

So, in order to maintain a healthy level of vitamin E within the body, one must take the right dose of this vital nutrient each day. It should be noted, however, that complications can arise from an overdose of vitamin E as well. 

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