The link between Vitamin E and obesity

Serendipity has led to a discovery that may help millions of obese individuals

Shadow of a fat manOne of the biggest potential risks for those who are suffering from obesity is liver disease. Now, a group of researchers have stumbled upon a happy discovery—by accident! They have discovered that Vitamin E, one of the essential nutrients that our body requires, can alleviate the symptoms of liver disease brought on by obesity.

Call is serendipity, but the research, led by investigators at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Cornell University, has huge implications for millions of people around the world.

Along with his colleagues, Danny Manor, who is an associate professor of nutrition and pharmacology at the Case Western, was studying the effect of vitamin E deficiency on the central nervous system when they chanced upon this useful discovery.

The precise effects of vitamin E on health have previously been difficult to ascertain, though its anti-oxidative properties were suggested to offer some protection from a variety of well-known maladies, including heart disease, cancer and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS).

"These findings may have a significant impact on public health," says Manor, "as the vast majority of adults in the United States do not consume the amount of vitamin E recommended by the National Institute of Medicine." For adults, the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin E is 15 milligrams a day. Vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, leafy greens and fortified cereals commonly contain vitamin E.

"Simple and affordable dietary intervention may benefit people at risk for this debilitating disease," Manor says.

For Manor, the significance of his group's findings is not only the possibility that they will aid those who are currently sick but that they may also "affect many people who are presently healthy, but are at risk for becoming obese or diabetic in the future."

Eurekalert!

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