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Annu Rev Nutr. 2007;27:347-62.

Vitamin E regulatory mechanisms.

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Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.


Dietary and supplemental vitamin E is absorbed and delivered to the liver, but of the various antioxidants with vitamin E activity, only alpha-tocopherol is preferentially recognized by the alpha-tocopherol transfer protein (alpha-TTP) and is transferred to plasma, while the other vitamin E forms (e.g., gamma-tocopherol or tocotrienols) are removed from the circulation. Hepatic alpha-TTP is required to maintain plasma and tissue alpha-tocopherol concentrations. The liver is the master regulator of the body's vitamin E levels in that it not only controls alpha-tocopherol concentrations, but also appears to be the major site of vitamin E metabolism and excretion. Vitamin Es are metabolized similarly to xenobiotics; they are initially omega-oxidized by cytochrome P450s, undergo several rounds of beta-oxidation, and then are conjugated and excreted. As a result of these various mechanisms, liver alpha-tocopherol and other vitamin E concentrations are closely regulated; thus, any potential adverse vitamin E effects are limited.

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