Clinical Use: Testing of Vitamin E can be used in the evaluation of individuals with motor and sensory neuropathies, monitoring Vitamin E status in premature infants and following supplementation in cystic fibrosis and also in the evaluation of persons with intestinal malabsorption of lipids.
Background: Vitamin E contributes to the normal maintenance of bio membranes in the vascular system, nervous system, and provides antioxidant protection for Vitamin A. The tocopherols (Vitamin E and related fat-soluble compounds) function as antioxidants and free-radical scavengers, protecting the integrity of unsaturated lipids in the biomembranes of all cells. Vitamin E is known to promote the formation of prostacyclin in endothelial cells and to inhibit the formation of thromboxanes in thrombocytes, thereby minimizing the aggregation of thrombocytes at the surface of the endothelium. Those influences on thrombocyte aggregation may be of significance in relation to risks for coronary atherosclerosis and thrombosis.

Deficiency of Vitamin E in children leads to reversible motor and sensory neuropathies; this problem has also been suspected in adults. Premature infants who require an oxygen-enriched atmosphere are at increased risk for bronchopulmonary dysplasia and retrolental fibroplasia; supplementation with Vitamin E has been shown to lessen the severity of, and may even prevent, those problems. Deficiencies of Vitamin E may arise from poor nutrition or from intestinal malabsorption. At-risk persons, especially children, include those with bowel disease, pancreatic disease, chronic cholestasis, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and intestinal lymphangiectasia. Infantile cholangiopathies that may lead to malabsorption of Vitamin E include intrahepatic and extrahepatic biliary atresia, paucity of intrahepatic bile ducts, arteriohepatic dysplasia, and rubella-related embryopathy.

Vitamin E toxicity has not been established clearly. Chronically excessive ingestion has been implicated as a cause of thrombophlebitis, although this has not been definitively verified.

Reference Ranges: Adult: 14.0 – 30.0 µmol/L
5 – 10 years: 12.0 – 22.5 µmol/L
Up to 5 years: 12.5 – 24.5 µmol/L
Associated Diseases:
Patient Preparation: None required
Specimen Requirements: Serum (SST) OR Plasma (Lithium Heparin)
Turnaround Time: 4 weeks
Additional Information:
Referred Test: Referred test
Location: Rotherham Hospital