The Structure of Vitamin E and Related Compounds

vitamin E structure, tocopherol, tocotrienol, what is vitamin e

The structure of vitamin E correlates with a range of antioxidant benefits

The structure of vitamin E is shown above, as alpha-tocopherol. You can see from the picture that alpha-tocopherol is related to a number of similar compounds. The characteristic shared by all of these compounds is the phenolic ring. I am referring here to the hexagonal component on the left side of each structure. This part of the molecule holds the antioxidant activity of the vitamin E structure. As you can see, all members of the vitamin E family are antioxidants. So the interesting questions that comes up is what the difference is between vitamin E-alpha tocopherol and it's molecular relatives?

The human genome has specally selected alpha-tocopherol among these 8 compounds and has evolved a number of specific proteins to protect it and distribute it throughout the body. The other members of the vitamin E family have their own unique biological activities and benefits as well. The major distinction between them and alpha-tocopherol, however, is the speed with which they are cleared from your system.

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