WASHINGTON, May 29 -- Vitamin E, best known as an effective
antioxidant, also has features that may be even more important to your health,
the Harvard Medical School says.
In a new special health report entitled "The Benefits and Risks of Vitamins and Minerals: What You Need to Know," Harvard experts said Vitamin E's abilities also can include two traits that can have "substantial cardiovascular benefits" -- inhibiting inflammation and aiding the proliferation of smooth muscle cells.
Noting that Vitamin E is among the best-studied antioxidants, the Harvard publication said that other properties of the vitamin shouldn't be overlooked.
"Some forms of Vitamin E have features that may be more important to your health than their antioxidant activity," the special health report said. The ability to inhibit inflammation, along with the ability to produce muscle cells, are traits "which help prevent narrowing of blood vessels (and) may have substantial cardiovascular benefits even if the vitamin's antioxidant
properties make no detectable difference."
The Harvard publication also reported on Vitamin E's role as one of four fat-soluble vitamins, which are Vitamins A, D, E and K. "Without Vitamin E, your body would have difficulty absorbing and storing Vitamin A," which keeps cells healthy and protects vision, it said.
Vitamin E "also acts as an antioxidant, a compound that helps protect the body against damage from unstable molecules," the report said. The four fat- soluble vitamins help "keep your eyes, skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and nervous system in good repair."