Vitamin E and Heart Disease
Vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol is beneficial to over all cardiovascular health primarily because of the role it plays in protecting low density lipoproteins (LDL) from oxidization. This form of cholesterol is considered to be harmful when it is not in proper balance with high density lipoproteins (HDL). In this manner atherosclerogenesis, or plaque deposits on the inner wall of the arteries, may be prevented. This condition is a leading precursor to heart disease. To understand the importance of vitamin E it is important to understand the process referred to as myocardial infarction or heart attack.
Plaque forms in the interior of the artery walls. Sometimes this is caused by excessive amounts of cholesterol, a solid sterol, in the diet or frequent and prolonged consumption of saturated fats or trans fats without enough of the mono saturated or unsaturated fats which can offset these. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Trans fatty acids are those found in hydrogenated shortenings. In some there is no association between fat consumption and elevated levels of serum cholesterol. These people's bodies produce too much cholesterol because of an inherited tendency. These people will often need a doctor's prescription to control their cholesterol levels. The body normally produces an adequate amount of cholesterol to supply necessary cellular functions.
A heart attack occurs when a person with this condition engages in excessive physical exertions, which are activities more strenuous than the person normally experiences or the heart is stressed in some other manner. The heart reacts to the narrowing in the arteries by attempting to pump harder. This increased blood flow causes plaque to dislodge then flow to another location where it gets stuck on more plaque. It seems that LDL becomes a problem in the body when it oxidizes, the blood is an oxygen rich environment. Vitamin E being a fat soluble antioxidant is thought to be well placed in order to counter this problem and keep damage from being done.
Red blood cells collect on this plaque forming a blood clot. Eventually, the overstressed heart manages to pass the blood clot into one of the heart chambers causing it to seize and stop. This is a myocardial infarction or heart attack and causes an area of the heart to suffer paralysis. This can be a very small area of damage or a massive area. Mostly once this damage occurs, it is permanent.
The Daily Value of Vitamin E is 22IU's per day. The average American diet includes less than half that so there is a big gap in what the FDA recommends and how much of the vitamin we take in daily. Some studies recommend dosages of 400 to 900IU's daily for those suffering from heart disease. A heart healthy diet and regular attention to routine medical examinations combined with medically appropriate exercise can be the best way to prevent this very painful and often fatal occurance. Heart disease can be avoided with early and careful attention to various risk factors in many Americans.
Author Vincent Platania represents the Stanley Home Products. Stanley Home Products has been in business since 1936, and offers high quality home and personal care products to keep your home and your body clean.
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