History of Vitamin E

Vitamin E was discovered in the early 20s by Evans and Bishop as a fat soluble nutritional factor, which was essential for normal reproduction in rats. Later a complete family of compounds that were designated as Vitamin E. In nature there are eight different substances with activity as Vitamin E, which are divided into two families generically known as tocopherols and tocotrienols isolated. Members of these families are designated as α-, β-, γ-, or δ- depending on the number and position of the methyl groups attached to the chroman ring. The side chain is saturated and unsaturated tocopherols in Tocotrienols. With respect to the activity of Vitamin E, the configuration of these compounds influences the biological activity. The α-Tocopherol is the most potent form. Preparation of Vitamin E for the pharmaceutical and food industry is based on this compound. Natural Tocopherol is approximately 40% more active than the synthetic Tocopherol. This should be considered when calculating the Vitamin E content to be added to the products. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils (especially wheat germ and sunflower), hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios and peanuts). One of the greatest natural sources of these products is the unsaponifiable fraction of residues from the distillation of vegetable oils (sunflower, soybean, corn, ...), and hence they are removed by a sophisticated sequence of physical and chemical processes in which, generically, intervened for isolation molecular distillation.