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There is much written and talked about the benefits of vitamin E. It is well known for its diverse roles in our health - as an antioxidant, for skin health, immune function and cardiovascular protection. These benefits are widely publicised but what many people don’t know is that vitamin E is not just a straightforward single nutrient. Vitamin E appears in nature as a collection of different forms, so if you are going to take a supplement you need to make sure it provides this too.

Mother Nature actually produces several different forms of vitamin E that act in different biological systems. In nature, you will never find a single form of vitamin E. It comes packaged together as mixed tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherol), each having its own specific and very important role.

Many supplements provide vitamin E in the form of alpha tocopherol because this is the form that gets much of the press coverage. It is also often the cheapest form. Alpha tocopherol is also used by the food industry to protect fats from rancidity. Its prevalence in supplements and within our food means that the alpha tocopherol form of vitamin E tends to be consumed in much larger quantities than beta, delta and gamma tocopherol, and this has potentially caused widespread imbalance in human biological systems.

It is therefore important when you take a supplement containing vitamin E that it contains a mix of tocopherols, packaged as nature intended. Look out for this in your daily multi vitamin & mineral supplement, and if you’re not sure, just ask.

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