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Obese People Need More Vitamin E but Actually Get Less

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One in every three adults in the United States suffer from metabolic syndrome “ a condition that is characterized by at least three of five common issues that raise health concerns – excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure, low “good” cholesterol, and/or high levels of blood sugar and triglycerides.

A new study by experts in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University indicate that obese people with metabolic syndrome face an unexpected shortage of vitamin E. Due to their weight and other problems there is an increase in oxidative stress, hence, they need more than normal levels of the vitamin. But, these same problems actually cause their effective use of vitamin E to be reduced.

The researchers involved in the study are of the opinion that a huge number of Americans may be chronically deficient in vitamin E, and it could compound the wide range of diseases known to be associated with metabolic syndrome, such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. The findings of the study are counterintuitive in certain instances – like since, vitamin E is a fat soluble micronutrient so in theory it should be available at increased levels in people who are overweight and eat large amounts of fatty foods. But, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has suggested that even though circulating vitamin E in the bloodstream may be high in obese people, it is not in effect finding its way into tissues where it is most needed.

Maret Traber, a principal investigator in the Linus Pauling Institute and a professor in the College of Public Health and Human Science at OSU opined that Vitamin E is associated with lipids, or the fats found in the blood, but it’s mostly just a micronutrient that’s going along for the ride. She added that what this study has found is that the tissues of obese people are rejecting intake of some of these lipids because they already have enough fat. In doing so, they also reject the associated vitamin E. That is why even though the tissues are facing serious oxidative stress, the delivery of vitamin E to the tissues is hampered and as a result of it they are not getting enough of this important micronutrient.

Excess fat in the body causes oxidative stress. Vitamin E is among the body's natural defenses that fight this problem. . Some foods that are rich in this micronutrient include nuts, seeds, and olive oil. But, most Americans “ almost 92 percent consume a diet that is 50% deficient in Vitamin E.

Traber added that most people who suffer from weight issues and want to reduce weight limit their fat intake. This makes some sense if you are trying to reduce calories, but the fact is – fat is the most common source of vitamin E in our diets, so, in trying to lose weight most people often harm themselves and it can sometimes actually worsen a nutrient deficiency.

Traber suggested that in such cases the best approach is to try and eat a balanced diet. People should also make it a point to take a daily multivitamin that includes 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin E – 15 milligrams per day. It’s also necessary to eat some food that contains at least a little fat when taking a supplement. That because Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin “ and without some fat in the diet it will not be well-absorbed.

The participants of the study were a mixture of adults “ some of them were healthy and some were suffering from metabolic syndrome. The authors of the study concluded that higher intake of dietary vitamin E is important for adults with metabolic syndrome.

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