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A cardiovascular disease is a disease which is caused as a result of an excess accumulation of plague inside the walls of large blood vessels and therefore limiting the flow of blood. In many incidences, cardiovascular disease is caused by atherosclerosis. Since this disease is not caused by a pathogen, it cannot spread from one person to another because it is non-infectious. Cardiovascular diseases have been known to be the largest killers in the world accounting for 17.1 deaths in a single year, s and as a result of this; various antioxidants have been developed in order to curb it. An antioxidant is any molecule or substance which is capable of preventing or slowing the oxidation of another substance or chemical. An antioxidant can therefore be an enzyme (proteins) or nutrients (minerals and vitamins) which play a vital role in prevention of the development of chronic illnesses such as stroke, cancer, cataracts, Rheumatoid arthritis and heart diseases. One of the known antioxidant that has been known to decrease lab values in cardiovascular diseases is Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant which is topically applied as skin cream or oil or taken internally as a capsule (Association of Food Technologists, 2005, p. 75).
Vitamin E works by preventing or slowing oxidation. Vitamin E is a generic term refereeing to the 8 entities which exhibit biological acts of the Isomer tocopherol. The most common isomer which is available is known as Alpha-tocopherol which has the strongest effect and the highest bio-potency in the human body. Vitamin E is an example of an antioxidant nutrient which is very vital in controlling the damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin E is unique in its antioxidant function and its structure. Oxidation is the damage caused from oxygen by free radicals which may lead to the dysfunctioning of the cells and therefore leading to the onset of diabetes and heart illnesses. Using Vitamin E as an antioxidant helps in lowering the risk for cancer and other infections. Alpha-tocopherol, being fat soluble, is uniquely able to safeguard the cell membranes which are mostly composed of fatty acids from being damaged by free radicals. It is also known for its ability in protecting the fats available in the LDLs (Low density Lipoproteins) or the bad cholesterol from oxidation. Generally, Vitamin E is an antioxidant which is responsible for preventing propagation of free radicals (Demand Media, 2011).
People who lack Vitamin E are known to experience symptoms like muscle weaknesses, scoliosis, muscle structural abnormalities and sensory perceptions. Vitamin E supplements can therefore be used to reverse these symptoms. Consequently, deficiency of Vitamin E should be a concern unless in cases where there are fat malabsorption disorders. Some food sources of vitamin E include turnip, mustard green, sunflower deeds, almonds, spinach, papaya, olives, bell pepper, tomato, chard e.t.c. Individuals should therefore strive to get the recommended daily intakes of these food supplements in order to make their bodies to be healthier and function effectively (Larbathe, 2010, p.100).
The deficiency or lack of Vitamin E leads to the hemolysis of red blood cells in the body and therefore leads to the degeneration of sensory neurons. The deficiency of Vitamin E has also been known to cause muscle necrosis, anemia and fetal deaths. People at risk of lacking Vitamin E are patients having fat malabsorption syndromes and smokers. The toxicity of Vitamin E is that it inhibits absorption and metabolism of Vitamin K and A in the body. Consumption of Vitamin E products which are in excess of 1200 IU in a single day may therefore cause the above effects. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for Vitamin E as an antioxidant for an adult person weighing approximately 65 Kilogrammes is 1000mg or 300 IU as from the year 1968, but however, this intake is based on the risk of hemorrhage (Demand Media, 2011).
In order to achieve this daily level, one has to consume a diet which is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. A new recommended RDA based on the alpha-tocopherol form was set to be at 10mg and 8mg of alpha tocopherol for men and women respectively in the year 1989. However, the established DRI of alpha tocopherol stands at 15 IU but the DRI levels revised for men and women are the same and stands at 21. People should not exceed these recommended daily intakes because they can have negative effects on their bodies (Association of Food Technologists, 2005, p. 80).
The pros of taking Vitamin E as an antioxidant is that it is an integral part of the cellular membranes whose responsibility is defending the cell from oxidation. Vitamin E is ne of the first line of defense in the cells and organelles to fight against lipid peroxidation. Vitamin E plays a crucial role in lending the red blood cells their flexibility as they penetrate through the arterial network. Vitamin E has a lot of benefits in the body and among this; it lowers the risks of some types of cancer and helps in protecting the immune system of the body. Vitamin E also helps in preventing abnormal blood clotting and in reducing the risk of an individual contacting the Alzheimer's disease. Inhibition of potentially destructive peroxynitrite radicals is the work of Vitamin E and it is also charged with protecting the retina and the nervous system. Vitamin E is also known for reducing cellular aging and maintaining the integrity of the cell membranes (Demand Media, 2011).
Vitamin E has been widely known for its use in lotions and skin creams because it has a vital role in reducing any scars caused as a result of burns and injuries. It is also known for its skin healing benefits and maintaining the integrity of the body's intra cellular membranes through provision of a defense line from destroying tissues as a result of oxidation and protection of its physical stability. Vitamin E is known for helping in the reduction of unsaturated fatty acids and prevention of breakdown of some nutrients by oxygen, (Larbathe, 2010, p. 200).
Vitamin E, though having strong healing properties can also be dangerous to the human body. Some of the potential dangers of taking Vitamin E are that when taken in high doses, Vitamin E is capable of building up in the liver and therefore leading to toxicity. Consumption of excess Vitamin E leads to hypertension, slow healing of wounds, tenderness of the breasts and muscular weaknesses. Consumption of too much Vitamin E may interfere with the balance of antioxidants in an individual's body and therefore resulting to negative effects which are too harmful. In some incidences, it has been established that consumption of Vitamin E by 78 per cent of the users makes them to gain extra weight and in some instances become obese. Vitamin E, when taken as a supplement can cause side effects especially when it interacts with other conditions or medications (Demand Media, 2011).
In some cases, intake of Vitamin E has been known to cause the swelling of lips, closing of the throat and breathing difficulties. Some less serious effects like weaknesses, fatigue, diarrhea, blurred vision, headache and nausea may also occur and may stop upon discontinuation of the Vitamin E supplements. It was also found out by researchers that individuals who ingested more than 400 international units in a single day had their risk of death increased. High doses of Vitamin E have also been attributed to the gastro-internal bleeding signs like vomiting of blood, bright red blood in the stool and black tarry stools. Consuming high doses of vitamin C can also hemorrhagic stoke whose signs include severe headache, changes in speech and vision and severe headaches (Association of Food Technologists, 2005, p. 65).
Vitamin E, as an oxidant should be taken in the right quantities so as to avoid being toxic to the person using it. The right quantities of Vitamin should therefore be ingested for the benefit of the body and for prevention of some other medical conditions. Vitamin E supplements should be administered to people with deficiency symptoms to make their bodies healthier and restore them to the normal status. The recommended daily dose should be taken in order for the body to function effectively and prevent it from being affected by other diseases. Vitamin E should therefore only be administered for the benefit of the body and not for its destruction. Natural supplements of Vitamin E should be recommended other than the artificial sources which may have some side effects to users once ingested (Larbathe, 2010, p. 300).