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TalkingNutrition

Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

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DSM hosts Vitamin E media roundtable discussion in Vietnam

By DSM Asia Pacific

A recent roundtable discussion hosted by DSM convened key media in Vietnam to discuss the importance of adequate vitamin E intake. Dr. Haeri Roh-Schmidt (Head of ASEAN, Human Nutrition and Health at DSM Nutritional Products) presented a new global overview of vitamin E status that has recently been published by DSM. Dr. Luu Ngan Tam (President of the Ho Chi Minh Society of Parenteral Enteral Nutrition) then led a session on the latest science behind vitamin E and the risk factors associated with high levels of vitamin E deficiency amongst the Vietnamese population.

The Importance of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a major antioxidant of the body and plays an important role in protecting cells from damage, keeping people healthy and preventing the onset of various conditions. The beneficial effects of adequate vitamin E intake include contributions towards a healthy immune system, cognitive function and cardiovascular health, as well as reducing the risk of infections, limiting the negative health implications of fatty liver, and reducing damage induced by air pollution. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin E is around 15mg/day for those aged 14 years and over, equivalent to 50 grams of sunflower seeds.

Vitamin E status in Vietnam

According to the recent systematic review published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research[1] and co-authored by DSM, 62% of the population in Asia has a serum concentration of vitamin E that is less than the recommended 30 µmol/L. Of this group, a further 16% of the population has a serum concentration below 12 µmol/L, indicating widespread deficiency. Vietnam was highlighted as the country with the highest prevalence of vitamin E deficiency. One of the reasons identified for this deficiency is the Vietnamese diet, which is typically high in carbohydrates and low in micronutrients.

Apart from diet, wider socioeconomic issues in Vietnam make it even more important that people get an adequate intake of vitamin E. Vietnam is one of the ten countries in the study with the most significant levels of air pollution, which puts the population at even greater risk of pneumonia, chronic bronchitis and cardiovascular diseases, as well as increased susceptibility to asthma. People living in Vietnam are also vulnerable to heart disease, with more than 25% of adults aged 25 years and above having hypertension (WHO, 2014). 20% of the Vietnamese population is expected to be affected by heart disease by 2017 (World Cardiovascular Association, Oct 2014).

During the discussion, Dr. Luu Ngan Tam suggested that taking vitamin E supplements might be required for individuals to meet the daily recommended amounts.

“Most Vietnamese don’t consume enough vitamin E due to a diet which is typically high in carbohydrates and low in whole grain, legumes and micronutrients. Diversifying daily meals to include vitamin E-rich food sources, alongside consuming fortified foods or supplements, are simple and effective ways of ensuring that an individual meets intake requirements so that they can fully benefit from the antioxidant properties of vitamin E. Food sources high in vitamin E include sunflower seeds, spinach, asparagus, beet greens, mustard greens and chilli peppers.”

Vitamin E products from MEGA were distributed to the media during the event, as part of efforts to raise awareness of the products available to help increase vitamin E intake in Vietnam.

To find out more information on MEGA, click here.

For more information on the global vitamin E status, click here.

References

Eggersdorfer, M. Only a Fifth of the Global Population Achieves Optimal Vitamin E Status. 2016 TalkingNutrition: http://www.dsm.com/campaigns/talkingnutrition/en_US/talkingnutrition-dsm-com/2016/08/vitamin_e_status.html


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