Oxidative stress characterized by an imbalance in the production and degradation of radical species has been implicated in the onset and progression of several diseases. The efficacy of antioxidants acting via the inhibition of radical chain reactions, scavenging of free radicals, direct donation of electrons to radical species and chelation of metal ions have been reported to attenuate the oxidative process. Vitamin E is an effective antioxidant and its hydrophobic nature and membrane permeability offer some benefits to application and bioavailability. This chapter highlights the following; structural differences in the vitamin family, biosynthesis in plants and the native biological role, antioxidant mechanisms of vitamin E, an overview of the prophylactic action of vitamin E as well as the effect on the oxidative process in some diseases.
Part of the book: Vitamin E in Health and Disease