A new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has specified that people with metabolic syndrome don’t absorb vitamin E. Metabolic syndrome is defined as five factors, (excess belly fat, elevated blood pressure, low “good” cholesterol, and high levels of blood glucose and triglycerides); increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
The study investigated the impact of Vitamin E on healthy people and people who have metabolic syndrome. The study participants drank milk along with the natural form of vitamin E. Healthy participants absorbed between 26.1 and 29.5 % of the vitamin. Participants with metabolic syndrome absorbed less vitamin E than healthy people in the study. Two lipoproteins in particular were impacted: one generated by the small intestine and another in the liver that secretes fat and vitamin E into the blood. In study participants with metabolic syndrome, vitamin E enrichment in both lipoproteins was lower than in healthy people.
The researchers used a supplement containing the natural form of alpha-tocopherol, which is abundant in certain vegetable oils, nuts and seeds. Alpha-tocopherol, a natural form of vitamin E in food and the only form essential to human health, is an antioxidant that prevents fats from becoming rancid in the body. The recommended daily intake is 15 milligrams, and most Americans consume about half that amount.
“The fact that people with metabolic syndrome had lower bioavailability of vitamin E was expected, but it had never been studied before and therefore we’ve had no guidance to make recommendations for that population,” said Richard Bruno, professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study.
“This work tells us that at least one-third of Americans have higher vitamin E requirements than healthy people,” Bruno said. “Dietary requirements of nutrients are generally defined only in the context of what a healthy person needs, but considering that two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, a healthy person might not be representative of our society.”
“People with metabolic syndrome could benefit from guidance to help them restrict calorie intake without sabotaging their vitamin E intake,” he said.
“It was an effort to mimic what most Americans do in the morning: Grab something to drink and take their vitamin pills,” he said. “Even though the amount of milk fat made no difference in the effect, the bioavailability of vitamin E when taken with a glass of milk was nearly three times higher than expected based on prior studies.
“Milk doesn’t have any appreciable vitamin E content, so to promote absorption, it needs to be paired with food containing vitamin E to help facilitate its bioavailability.”