Vitamin E status in healthy population in Asia: a review of current literature

Malik A, Eggersdorfer M, Trilok-Kumar G


Vitamin E is a lipid soluble antioxidant which mainly circulates as α-tocopherol in the human plasma. Its deficiency is associated with ataxia, neuropathy, anaemia and several other health conditions. Although substantial data on vitamin E status has been published worldwide, there is paucity of data on the extent of deficiency from most Asian countries, including India. Part of the problem is lack of validated biomarkers for vitamin E and no consensus on cut offs for defining deficiency and sufficiency. Thus, interpretation of the data on the vitamin E status is difficult. Limited available data from 31 studies on vitamin E status in healthy people from Asia, the most populated continent, has been collated for the purpose of this review. Broadly, the results suggest inadequate vitamin E status in most age groups, with the prevalence of deficiency reaching 67%, 80%, 56% and 72% in infants, children and adolescents, adults, elderly and pregnant women, respectively, based on varying cut offs. The findings are not surprising as both, vitamin E intakes and its status have not received too much attention in the past. Lack of conclusive data accentuates the need for more research on the vitamin E status across all age groups and to define age, gender and physiological state specific cut offs for vitamin E levels.

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