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Ann Clin Biochem. 1986 Sep;23 ( Pt 5):514-20.

The use of different lipids to express serum tocopherol: lipid ratios for the measurement of vitamin E status.


Plasma tocopherol was measured in 85 alcoholic patients and 40 control subjects from a local factory. Cholesterol, triglycerides and phospholipids were measured individually and summed to give an estimate of total serum lipids. Plasma tocopherol concentrations of the alcoholics were significantly lower than those of the controls and showed wide variation from marked deficiency to the upper limit of the normal range. Using regression analysis, 1.11 mumol tocopherol/mmol total lipids were calculated as the threshold of deficiency equivalent to 0.8 mg tocopherol/g total lipid established by Horwitt et al. The sensitivity and specificity of other tocopherol:lipid ratios for identifying vitamin E deficiency was compared with the tocopherol:total lipid ratio. Thresholds of deficiency for the different tocopherol:lipid ratios were calculated. The tocopherol:cholesterol+triglyceride ratio was found to be almost as powerful in identifying vitamin E deficiency as the tocopherol:total lipid ratio (sensitivity 95%, specificity 99%). Of the tocopherol:individual lipid ratios, the tocopherol:cholesterol ratio gave the best results (sensitivity 86%, specificity 94%).

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