Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin belonging to the tocopherol family of compounds, widely distributed in plants [especially cereal germ] oils. Vitamin E contributes to cardiovascular health by helping to protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation which may cause cellular damage. Tocopherol is also a potent antioxidant for oils and fats and is used in the food industry.
Synthetic vitamin E [dl-a-tocopherol] is prepared by 3-4 stage synthesis involving the reaction of trimethylhydroquinone with isophytol to yield tocopherol. Natural vitamin E dl-a-tocopherol is extracted from deodorized distilled oil [d.d.o.].
Synthetic vitamin E in mainly used in animal feed, whereas natural vitamin E is used in pharmaceutical OTC supplements as antioxidant. By 2020 the consumption will expand significantly.