Metabolic syndrome and vitamin E
by Mukilteo Natural Health on
March 20, 2018
Metabolic syndrome is a common condition that increases risk of chronic disease. Diagnosis involves 3 or more risk factors, which include abdominal obesity, elevated triglycerides, high blood pressure, high glucose, and low HDL cholesterol. This syndrome is often a precursor of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and fatty liver. Prevention involves healthful dietary habits, regular physical activity, and focusing on low sugar intake (less than 10% of total calories).
Currently, researchers at Ohio State University are looking into the role of vitamin E. In the body, vitamin E is sent to the liver and forms alpha-tocopherols, which are then sent to various body tissues. Alpha-tocopherols are used for skin health, brain health, and cardiovascular function. This is also the form measured in blood to test for deficiency. Interestingly, researchers found that people with metabolic syndrome have normal serum tocopherols but show patterns of deficiency in urinary metabolites.
By tracking levels through the body, scientists found that vitamin E was poorly absorbed in peripheral tissue with metabolic syndrome. With this condition, there is a lot of inflammation due to increased LDL levels. Inflammation by LDL leads to oxidation & tissue damage, causing atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease long term. With metabolic syndrome, fat tissues rejected alpha-tocopherol because vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin and the tissues were saturated with LDL. This matters because vitamin E is an important anti-oxidant and prevents the damage caused by LDL.
What this research study determined is that people with metabolic syndrome may need more vitamin E to improve uptake in areas of inflammation. They suggest starting with a healthy diet high in nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut oil, and raw olive oil. Supplementing with vitamin E at higher levels appears to also help build levels and decrease inflammation in individuals with metabolic syndrome.