An antioxidant and an important member of the vitamin community, Vitamin E is essential for the proper functioning of a number of processes in our body. Following a diet rich in Vitamin E can help you stay sharp but its deficiency may cause damage to brain cells says researchers.
Vitamin E deficiency may interrupt the supply of specific nutrients and rob the brain of the "building blocks" it needs to maintain neuronal health, the findings showed.
Maret Traber, lead author of the study published in the Journal of Lipid Research and professor at Oregon State University in the US said, "This research showed that vitamin E is needed to prevent a dramatic loss of a critically important molecule in the brain, and helps explain why vitamin E is needed for brain health."
Vitamin E in human diets is most often provided by dietary oils, such as olive oil. But many of the highest levels are in foods not routinely considered dietary staples – almonds, sunflower seeds or avocados. The research showed that zebrafish fed with a diet deficient in vitamin E throughout their life had about 30 per cent lower levels of docosahexaenoic acid-containing phosphatidylcholines (DHA-PC), which is a part of the cellular membrane in every brain cell or neuron.
Other recent studies have concluded that lower level of DHA-PC in the blood plasma of humans is a biomarker than can predict a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease.
"You cannot build a house without the necessary materials," said Traber. "In the sense, if vitamin E is inadequate, we are cutting by more than half the amount of materials with which we can build and maintain the brain.” The year-old zebrafish used in this study, and the deficient levels of vitamin E they were given, are equivalent to humans eating a low vitamin E diet for a lifetime.
Some sources of Vitamin E include spinach, tofu, nuts, sunflower seeds, avocado, fish, plant oils, broccoli, squash and pumpkin.
Inputs from IANS