Other names: tocopherol test, alpha-tocopherol test, vitamin E, serum
A vitamin E test measures the amount of vitamin E in your blood. Vitamin E (also known as tocopherol or alpha-tocopherol) is a nutrient that is important for many body processes. It helps your nerves and muscles work well, prevents blood clots, and boosts the immune system. Vitamin E is a type of antioxidant, a substance that protects cells from damage.
Most people get the right amount of vitamin E from their diet. Vitamin E is found naturally in many foods, including green, leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. If you have too little or too much vitamin E in your body, it can cause serious health problems.
A low amount of vitamin E means you are not getting or absorbing enough vitamin E. Your health care provider will probably order more tests to find out the cause. Vitamin E deficiency can be treated with vitamin supplements. Vitamin E deficiency is very rare in healthy people. Most of the time, vitamin E deficiency is caused by a condition where nutrients are not properly digested or absorbed. These include Crohn's disease, liver disease, cystic fibrosis, and some rare genetic disorders. Vitamin E deficiency may also be caused by a very low-fat diet.
Symptoms of a vitamin E deficiency include:
- Muscle weakness
- Slow reflexes
- Difficulty or unsteady walking
- Vision problems
High vitamin E levels means you are getting too much vitamin E. If you are using vitamin E supplements, you will need to stop taking them. Your health care provider may also prescribe other medicines to treat you.
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