New York: If you believe that vitamin E deficiency never occurs, you are probably wrong. A new analysis suggests that an adequate level of this essential micro-nutrient is critical for the very young, the elderly and pregnant women.
"It is important for all of your life but the most compelling evidence about vitamin E is about a 1,000-day window that begins at conception," said Maret Traber, a professor in the college of public health and human sciences at the Oregon State University.
"Vitamin E is critical to neurologic and brain development that can only happen during that period. It is not something you can make up for later," she added.
A lifelong proper intake of vitamin E is also important but often complicated by the fact that this nutrient is one of the most difficult to obtain through diet alone.
Some of the best dietary sources of vitamin E are nuts, seeds, spinach, wheat germ and sunflower oil.
In a review of multiple studies, Traber outlined some of the recent findings about vitamin E.
According to her, inadequate vitamin E is associated with increased infection, anaemia, stunting of growth and poor outcomes during pregnancy for both the infant and mother.
Overt deficiency, especially in children, can cause neurological disorders, muscle deterioration and even cardiomyopathy.
"One study showed that higher vitamin E concentrations at birth were associated with improved cognitive function in two-year-old children," she noted.
"Vitamin E supplements do not seem to prevent Alzheimer's disease occurrence but have shown benefit in slowing its progression," Traber added.
She recommended a supplement for all people with at least the estimated average requirement of vitamin E.
The findings appeared in the journal Advances in Nutrition