How Does Vitamin E Help the Cardiovascular System?

old message How Does Vitamin E Help the Cardiovascular System? Darrell Miller 06/27/11


Date: June 27, 2011 03:44 PM
Subject: How Does Vitamin E Help the Cardiovascular System?

Vitamin E and The Cardiovascular System

Vitamin E has always been tied to cardiovascular health. Tocopherols and tocotrienols, two classes of compounds that exhibit vitamin E activity, have been the subject of cardiovascular research in the past few decades. There is good scientific evidence that these compounds lower cardiovascular risk. For this reason, medical professionals strongly recommend consumptions of foods rich in this vitamin.

Alpha tocopherol is the active form of vitamin E inside the human body. Other forms of vitamin E have also shown similar benefits, though alpha tocopherol remains the best studied. It has long been noted that regular intake of vitamin E is especially beneficial for patients with cardiovascular diseases as the body has a specific mechanism by which it utilizes this compound to maintain cardiovascular health.

Lowers Bad Cholesterol

The scientific community is convinced that the dichotomy of good and bad cholesterol has helped in the prevention, management, and treatment of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. The liver produces lipoproteins to transport cholesterol in the water-based bloodstream. Low-density lipoproteins, which contain high amounts of triglycerides, are now widely known as bad cholesterol.

Bad cholesterol has been associated with the formation of arterial plaques, and thus has been used as an indicator of cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, high-density lipoproteins are dubbed good cholesterol. Research on vitamin E has shown that it affects levels of lipoproteins in the blood. In particular, it is believed that alpha tocopherol lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol.

Impedes Plaque Formation

Low-density lipoproteins are lipids that contribute to the disease activity of arterial plaques. It is a widely accepted fact that bad cholesterol increases the concentrations of free fatty acids found in the blood. These fatty acids are engulfed by macrophages trapped in the blood vessel walls in an attempt to heal arterial lesions characteristic of atherosclerosis. Macrophages and lipids form arterial plaques.

Vitamin E has been observed to counter the harmful effects of inflammation on blood vessel walls. Macrophages are white blood cells released in the circulatory system during inflammatory responses. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to accumulate inside the blood vessel walls and engulf low-density lipoproteins present in the bloodstream, the reason why the latter increases plaque size.

Prevents Lipid Peroxidation

Cardiovascular diseases have often been linked to inflammation. For one, the presence of white blood cells, such as macrophages, is permitted by inflammatory responses. Arterial plaques become progressive lesions as substances that are inflammatory in nature continue to be present in the bloodstream, such as low-density lipoproteins, which are subjected to lipid peroxidation.

Vitamin E is a scavenger of free radicals. Reactive oxygen species, such as free radicals, are agents of inflammation that oxidize low-density lipoproteins during lipid peroxidation. Oxidized low-density lipoproteins are in turn taken up by white blood cells that have accumulated in the blood vessel walls. Healthy levels of vitamin E neutralize free radicals and prevent lipid peroxidation.

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