Vitamin E is essentian for higher animals, such as poultry and livestock for their fertility.
After the absorption of vitamin E in the body, the greatest amount accumulates in the pituitary gland, muscle, liver, adipose tissue, heart, testes, uterus, blood, and in pregnant women in the placenta.
The full biological role of this vitamin is not fully known. It is assumed that vitamin E may participate in the protection of cell membrane lipids from oxidation. It acts as the most powerful natural antioxidant of fat, and it plays, but for now quite controversial role in the metabolism of selenium. It is believed that selenium plays an important role in protecting against breast cancer. Vitamin E is well demonstrated in protecting the body from negative effects caused by chemotherapy (which is used to treat cancer, but it can leave a lot of negative consequences for the patient).
Antioxidant effect of vitamin E is effective at high concentrations of oxygen, and is generally concentrated in those regions, with the largest quantity of oxygen (such as the erythrocyte membrane and the membrane of the airways).
Due to their antioxidant activity, tocopherols prevent autooxidation of unsaturated fatty acids when they are exposed to molecular oxygen.
The effect of vitamin E is associated with selenium. Selenium reduces the required amount of vitamin E.
In addition to the antioxidative role, vitamin E has a role in energy production.
Recently was determined its role in nervous disorders. It has been shown that vitamin E plays a key role in the normal functioning of the nervous system. Various neurological disorders in humans originate from vitamin E deficiency, which can be cured or prevented by addition of this vitamin.
It was noted, that in different animals vitamin E deficiency causes a weakening of the immune system, while in animals with high levels of this vitamin immunity is much better.
Vitamin E plays a role in preventing the formation of tumors (especially lung cancer).
There are several ways in which vitamin E plays these last two roles. As an antioxidant vitamin E protects cells from free radicals. These are highly reactive molecules reacting with many other molecules in the body are changing their structure and thus their function. It is assumed that free radicals play an important role in the formation of tumors. There are assumptions that vitamin E molecules block prostaglandins, which reduce the immune response. In addition, vitamin E protects cell membranes from viruses and other pathogens that may infect a cell.
Vitamin E plays a role in protecting the body against cardiovascular disease, lowering cholesterol, and other lipid molecules in the blood.
Vitamin E protects the body from various atmospheric pollutants (smog and cigarette smoke).
It is assumed that vitamin E may positively affect the life span, and is therefore referred as "youth vitamin".