Consequences of Poor Digestive Function: Vitamin E Malabsorbtion
by Andreas M. Papas, PH.D.
It may be hard to believe that amid the abundance of food and a plethora of supplements in the U.S. that many people develop clinical vitamin E deficiency. Vitamin E is an essential fat-soluble antioxidant that helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. If a digestive condition such as IBS, celiac, or Crohn's disease exists, vitamin E absorption is easily compromised. To further complicate matters, vitamin E deficiency may go undetected for decades, resulting in cumulative damage to our health that may become debilitating and irreversible. Unfortunately, when digestion is compromised, deficiency is inevitable.
OIL AND WATER DO NOT MIX
To explain how this happens, let's explore some of the dynamics. Humans are water-based organisms. Our blood, which carries the nutrients necessary to nourish our tissues, is water and makes up more than half of our weight. Vitamin E, however, is fat-soluble. Since oil and water do not mix, the body compensates for this by producing micelles, unique tiny spheres with a hydrophilic (water loving) outer layer designed to ferry fat material from the gut across the intestinal wall into the blood stream.
Two major components are required for micelle production:
WHAT CONDITIONS INHIBIT ABSORPTION?
Despite this clever design, there are a number of diseases and physiological conditions that may reduce the uptake of vitamin E.
1. Liver and pancreatic insufficiency:
Because bile and pancreatic juices are critical for its transport and absorption, any condition that compromises the function of the liver and pancreas can lead to malabsorption. For example:
These mostly genetic defects include:
Aging is known to contribute to significant vitamin E deficiencies. Diminished digestion and absorption combined with increased need equals deficiency. It is estimated that over 50 percent of the elderly may have suboptimal vitamin E status. Such deficiencies may be aggravated by chronic disease conditions and medications, which affect liver and other functions.
OVERCOMING VITAMIN E MALABSORPTION: THE AQUA ETM ADVANTAGE
Aqua E supplies the complete vitamin E family of tocopherols plus tocotrienols in a patented water-soluble formula designed to enhance absorption. It is particularly rich in the natural unesterified gamma tocopherol and tocotrienols, which are of particular interest because of the increased oxidative stress. Each teaspoon (5 ml) supplies 100 IU plus 59 mg of gamma tocopherol for a total of 150 mg of total tocopherols. In addition, it supplies 9 mg of tocotrienols.
This proprietary formula contains lipoprotein-like micro spheres which have the same action as micelles. In addition, after passing the gut wall these micro spheres may help deliver vitamin E to the tissues even in the absence of a healthy lipoprotein transport system (for example, in abetalipoproteinemia).
Increasing the ease of transportation by making it into odorless, tasteless drops, Aqua E mixes with most beverages and water for trouble-free compliance for children and those who don't want to take pills.
References available upon request.