What is Gamma tocopherol? High and low values | Lab results explained

What is Gamma-tocopherol?

Gamma-tocopherol is part of the Vitamin E classification group.

gamma-tocopherol vitamin e alpha high low meaning treatment sources genova urine plasma vitamins

The term vitamin E refers to a group of eight naturally occurring compounds, all with different potencies:

– alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherol and

– alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocotrienol.

Gamma-tocopherol is the major form of vitamin E in corn and soybean oils that are a major staple of the American diet. Gamma-tocopherol is low in other oils such as sunflower and olive oil that are more prevalent in European diets.

– The average serum concentrations of Alpha-tocopherol are similar among European and US populations, while serum Gamma-tocopherol levels in United States are 2- to 6-fold higher than levels in Europeans.

Although alpha-tocopherol is the major component in foods and human tissue, the beta, delta and gamma isomers are sometimes included in profiles to show detail of tissue composition.

– One interesting fact about vitamin E is that supplementation with alpha-tocopherol decreases plasma and tissue stores of gamma-tocopherol.

More details on Vitamin E:

– Vitamin E is transported in plasma in the lipoproteins and it serves as the most important membrane protective antioxidant and free radical scavenger in the body.

– Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that has antioxidant properties.

– Vitamin E functions as a chain-breaking antioxidant that prevents the propagation of lipid per-oxidation.

– Alpha-tocopherol and CoQ10 are the primary fat-soluble antioxidants in cell membranes and lipoproteins.

– Vitamin E protects polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) within membrane phospholipids and in plasma lipoproteins.

– Peroxyl radicals react with vitamin E one thousand times more rapidly than they do with PUFA.

– Vitamin E is transported in plasma in lipoproteins and serves as the most important membrane protective antioxidant and free radical scavenger in the body.

– Experimental vitamin E deficiency is difficult to produce in humans because of the intricate system of checks and balances in the antioxidant cascade. Although symptoms of mild to moderate vitamin E deficiency are subtle, many clinical effects are well documented.

– In general, lipid peroxidation markers are elevated during vitamin E depletion and their levels can be normalized upon vitamin E repletion. However, these markers are not necessarily specific to vitamin E, since changes in intake of other antioxidants can also change the levels of these markers.

– Since patients with hypertriglyceridemia have elevated levels of lipoproteins, vitamin E concentrations also tend to rise, leading to overestimation of vitamin E total body status.

– Vitamin E absorption from the intestinal lumen is dependent upon biliary and pancreatic secretions, micelle formation, uptake into enterocytes, and chylomicron secretion. Defects at any step lead to impaired absorption.

Lower values:

– Deficiency may occur with malabsorption, cholestyramine, colestipol, isoniazid, orlistat, olestra and certain anti-convulsants (e.g., phenobarbital, phenytoin).

– Deficiency may result in peripheral neuropathy, ataxia, muscle weakness, retinopathy, and increased risk of CVD, prostate cancer and cataracts.

– Food sources include oils (olive, soy, corn, canola, safflower, sunflower), nuts, seeds, spinach, carrots, avocado, dark leafy greens and wheat germ.

Higher values:

– Elevated plasma gamma-tocopherol and decreased alpha-tocopherol in men are associated with inflammatory markers and decreased plasma 25-OH vitamin D.

– Research, published in the journal Respiratory Research, found that gamma tocopherol, the kind in corn, canola and soybean oils, was linked to poor lung function in adults.

– Higher incidences of asthma were associated with higher blood levels of gamma tocopherol in this study.

Foods rich in vitamin E
Food Source Serving Size Alpha-tocopherol (mg) Gamma-tocopherol (mg)
Walnuts (English) 1/4 cup 0.21 6.09
Sunflower seeds (oil-roasted) 1/4 cup 12.25 0.15
Pecans (oil-roasted) 1/4 cup 0.70 6.66
Almonds (oil-roasted) 1/4 cup 10.19 0.35
Chunky peanut butter 2 tbsp. 2.02 2.55



The information on is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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