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What is Alpha Tocopherol?

Fitday Editor
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Alpha tocopherol is the strongest of several forms of tocopherol elements that scientists and nutritionists call "vitamin E" and are found naturally in a variety of foods. Some foods contain alpha tocopherol and others contain gamma tocopherol, a less powerful tocopherol, though scientists have found that the human body can transform the gamma tocopherol into a similar end result.

Alpha tocopherol and other vitamin E substances are antioxidants, which means they can help the body fight off a range of degenerative conditions. Vitamin E is beneficial to overall body function, and a regular part of a healthy diet. As far as specific health effects of increased alpha tocopherol consumption, some studies differ on how the essential element might affect heart health. Tocopherol has been known to interact poorly with blood thinners. Other health risks may also apply to elevated levels of alpha tocopherol in a daily diet. The RDA or recommended daily allowance for an adult male is 15mg/day.

Alpha Tocopherol and Pregnancy

Scientists recommend that pregnant or lactating women be held to lower dietary intake levels of alpha tocopherol and vitamin E substances. One reason is because high dosages of some of these tocopherol elements have been linked to some kinds of birth defects.

Regular Consumption of Alpha Tocopherol

When it comes to the average individual, scientific institutions have disagreed over whether the average diet provides the recommended levels of alpha tocopherol and vitamin E substances. Some individuals choose to take a vitamin E dietary supplement where tocopherol is "esterized" and then absorbed by the body as "free tocopherol." Those who develop a fat-free diet and avoid vegetable oils may be getting lower amounts of vitamin E in their diet, and may benefit by looking at ways to consume a bit more of this critical nutritional element.

Alpha tocopherol is present in a lot of different foods. Many kinds of vegetable oils contain large amounts of the substance. It is also present in high levels in wheat germ, which has been used in animal trials to introduce higher levels of vitamin E. Alpha tocopherol is also found in some fortified breakfast cereals and other processed foods where manufacturers have added in synthetic elements to create the kind of nutrition that consumers would get from natural whole foods.

Although alpha tocopherol has been looked at as a potential helper for battling conditions like glaucoma and some forms of cancer, results are still under debate. A vitamin E deficiency is commonly recognized to include hazards like anemia.

Better knowledge of specific elements like alpha tocopherol can help you make better diet choices that will complement your existing health needs. When it comes to diet, each person needs her own set of optimal nutritional guidelines, so it's best not to generalize when it comes to figuring out how levels of tocopherol and similar naturally occurring vitamins can affect your health. Plan a "master diet" in consultation with your family doctor and nutritional professionals, and you could take control of setting the stage for your future, all with healthy, natural foods available at your local supermarket.

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