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Vitamin E repairs muscles, GHSU research finds

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As he walks on a treadmill at the Fam­ily Y of Downtown Augusta, Gordon Baker, 62, might be tearing cell walls in his muscles as he exercises. Fortunately, the 400 milligrams of vitamin E he takes every day are probably helping to repair them, according to research at Georgia Health Sciences University.

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Gordon Baker, of south Augusta, walks on a treadmill in the cardio area at the downtown YMCA off Broad Street.  Sara Caldwell/Staff
Sara Caldwell/Staff
Gordon Baker, of south Augusta, walks on a treadmill in the cardio area at the downtown YMCA off Broad Street.

“I feel like it makes a difference,” Baker said.

Vitamin E appears to help overtaxed muscles by repairing torn cell membranes, which might one day have implications for devastating diseases, according to the research.

In a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, the lead author, Dr. Amber Howard, and her colleagues, working on muscle cells in the lab, found vitamin E aided the repair of cell membranes that had been compromised.

“When a skeletal muscle cell suffers a tear in its outermost surface, it will die if it doesn’t repair that tear very quickly,” said Dr. Paul McNeil, the senior author on the study. “Vitamin E – by a mechanism we don’t
understand yet at the molecular level, certainly – is promoting that repair process.”

Unlike other common vitamins, how vitamin E functions in the body is not very well understood, he said.

Another difference from most other vitamins is that vitamin E is not water-soluble, McNeil said.

“It’s present in your body dissolved in fats, including the fats that compose that outermost boundary or membrane barrier,” McNeil said.

The researchers were able to show that the vitamin’s antioxidant activity might be aiding repair mechanisms by subjecting the cells to a deluge of oxidants that impeded the repair of torn cells but could be prevented if the cells were pretreated with an antioxidant such as vitamin E.

The findings point to important implications for muscles, whose cells are often damaged by “eccentric contractions, when (the muscle) is lengthening and contracting simultaneously, like running downhill will do,” McNeil said.

“They are quite common,” he said. “I don’t think most people realize that but they have probably felt the consequences.”

More important, it could have implications for genetic muscle-wasting diseases such as muscular dystrophies or even amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, he said.

“One factor that has been shown in human populations to prevent or delay the onset of (ALS) is high levels of vitamin E,” McNeil said.

Focusing on that antioxidant repair mechanism “could be potentially beneficial to people suffering from genetic muscular dystrophies and other muscle-wasting diseases. That is way in the future, of course, but it is a possibility.”

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Cadence
219
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Cadence 12/20/11 - 12:50 pm
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I take my supplements every

I take my supplements every day it remains to be seen if they help but I don't think they hurt.

lovingthesouth72
1408
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lovingthesouth72 12/20/11 - 01:23 pm
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So, what's a healthy dose to

So, what's a healthy dose to take if the vitamin is not water soluble?

Tom Corwin
10757
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Tom Corwin 12/20/11 - 02:56 pm
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Thanks for the question. The

Thanks for the question.
The GHSU study notes that most diets are "rich in vitamin E" so you may be getting an adequate supply without a supplement as it is also an additive to many foods. In a report in 2000, the Institute of Medicine said an adequate daily amount for most men and women would be 15 milligrams a day and a Tolerable Upper Intake Level would be 1,000 milligrams a day.

Little Lamb
49137
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Little Lamb 12/20/11 - 03:10 pm
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Mr. Corwin's statement is not

Mr. Corwin's statement is not very helpful:

. . . most diets are "rich in vitamin E" so you may be getting an adequate supply without a supplement as it is also an additive to many foods.

You also may not! That "adequate daily amount" of 15 milligrams a day for most men and women still does not address the issue in this new study. Corwin says that the 15 milligrams a day was in a report issued in 2000, whereas the GHSU study is much newer than that.

If you want the benefits of vitamin E for repairing torn cell membranes, you can bet you will need more than 15 milligrams a day. How much, I can't say. I dare say that Dr. Amber Howard won't say, either, even though she could at least make a recommendation.

Little Lamb
49137
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Little Lamb 12/20/11 - 03:13 pm
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The main problem of relying

The main problem of relying on diet alone is that not one single one of us has a clue of how many milligrams of vitamin E we are getting in our diets. You can bet it varies day to day, because we don't eat the same things every day. And if food companies are now adding it willy nilly to many foods, we're even more in the dark.

treerock
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treerock 12/20/11 - 03:50 pm
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tocotrienols as well as the

tocotrienols as well as the tocopherols are needed to get a proper dose of the vitamin E family. do not supplement with vitamin E that is labled as dl-alphatocopherol. it is synthetic and will harm you. nuts contain a lot of vitamin e.

mimcburney
0
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mimcburney 12/21/11 - 03:16 pm
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While it is true that the

While it is true that the vitamin E RDA for adults is 15 mg daily, the USDA survey "What We Eat in America" (see link below) shows that 93% of Americans do NOT consume 12 mg vitamin E daily (the estimated average requirement or EAR) from the foods they eat. At the very least, people need to change their diet, or supplement with vitamin E, to meet the RDA.

Michael I McBurney, PhD
Head of Scientific Affairs, DSM Nutritional Products

For more information on vitamin E and others, follow our blog at http://TalkingNutrition.dsm.com which can also be followed via @dsmnutrition or www.facebook.com/TalkingNutritionDSM

See page 8 of http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12355000/pdf/0102/usualintake...

Riverman1
93862
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Riverman1 12/22/11 - 05:00 am
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Dr. McBurney, thanks for your

Dr. McBurney, thanks for your company buying Martek. That was my major holding. As you know, their (yours now) DHA, is changing the world for the better.

I checked my multivitamin and it has 200% the recommended daily Vit E. Guess I'm okay on that.

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