Vitamin E, present in fruits like tomatoes and mangoes or in sunflower seeds, with antioxidant properties is helpful to regulate an ageing immune system and protects against bacterial infections, including pneumonia, said a study.
Vitamin E naturally is also used to apply on skin and in beauty products to smoothen skin texture and many TV ads are full of its inclusion in their products and now a research team has come out with an experiment that proved its effect.
The researchers from Tufts University in the US have studied giving an extra dosage of Vitamin E in older male mice before and after they were infected with the pneumonia-causing bacteria, equivalent to 200 International Units per day consumed by humans or 10 times more than the recommended daily dosage.
The other half of the mice was given a normal amount of vitamin E and the results showed that the excessive dosage consumers had 1,000 times fewer bacteria in their lungs, and two times less white blood cells (neutrophils).
It means the excessive dosage has resulted in drastically reduced lung damage in the older mice with the excess dosage of Vitamin E. Though older mice, they proved to be as efficient as younger mice with similar resistance to infection.
“A growing body of research suggests vitamin E could make up for the loss of immune response caused by aging. Whether vitamin E can help protect people against this type of pneumonia affecting older adults requires more research,” said Simin Nikbin Meydani from Tufts University, US, who was a co-author of the study.
Apoplying it to humans, the researcher said people aged over 65, who are at a high risk of falling victims to pneumonia in lungs caused by bacteria and certain viruses may benefit from the study, pending clinical trials. The study has been published in the journal of Immunology.
However, a 2007 clinical study involving α-tocopherol in Vitamin E showed that its supplementation did not reduce the risk of major cardiovascular diseases in middle-aged and older men.
As Vitamin E can act as an anticoagulant, increasing the risk of bleeding problems, many researches have set a tolerable upper intake levels (UL) at 1,000 mg (1,500 IU) per day.
Moreover, if used in combination with certain other drugs such as aspirin, hypervitaminosis E can be life-threatening. Hypervitaminosis E may also counter vitamin K, leading to vitamin K deficiency as well.