Washington: Vitamin E
is rubbed on the skin to reduce signs of ageing and is consumed by
runners to improve endurance. But scientists now have found how
the powerful antioxidant helps repair tears in the plasma
Daily activities such as eating and exercise can tear the plasma
membrane and a new research by Georgia Health Sciences University
shows that vitamin E is essential to repair, the journal Nature
Without repair of muscle cells, for example, muscles eventually
waste away and die in a process similar to what occurs in muscular
dystrophy, said a university statement.
Muscle weakness is a common complaint in diabetes, another
condition associated with inadequate plasma membrane repair.
"Without any special effort we consume vitamin E every day and we
don't even know what it does in our bodies," said Paul McNeil,
Georgia's cell biologist and study co-author.
Century-old animal studies linked vitamin E deficiency to muscle
problems but how that happens remained a mystery until now, McNeil
According to him, lack of membrane repair causing muscle wasting
and death prompted him to look at vitamin E.
Vitamin E appears to aid repair in several ways. As an
antioxidant, it helps eliminate destructive byproducts from the
body's use of oxygen that impede repair.
Because it's lipid-soluble, vitamin E can actually insert itself
into the membrane to prevent free radicals from attacking. It also
can help keep phospholipids, a major membrane component, compliant
so they repair better after a tear.