Vitamin E (α- and γ-Tocopherol) Levels in the Community: Distribution, Clinical and Biochemical Correlates, and Association with Dietary Patterns

Little is known about the distribution and determinants of circulating vitamin E levels in a German population. In this cross-sectional study we assessed the distribution of both α- and γ-tocopherol levels, identified their clinical and biochemical correlates, and assessed their relationships with a priori and a posteriori derived dietary patterns. Plasma α- and γ-tocopherol concentrations were measured using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with fluorescence detection in 641 individuals (mean-age: 61 years; 40.6% women). Correlates of both markers were determined using linear regression with backward selection. Using a validated food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ), an a priori defined vitamin E-rich dietary pattern was constructed, and three a posteriori derived dietary patterns were identified by principal component analysis. Each pattern was related to α- and γ-tocopherol levels using linear regression. Median concentrations of α- and γ-tocopherol were 31.54 μmol/L and 1.35 µmol/L, respectively. 57.6% of participants had α-tocopherol levels >30 µmol/L. Triglycerides, high density lipoprotein (HDL)- and low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, and vitamin E supplementation were identified as correlates of vitamin E levels. After excluding supplement users, a dietary pattern rich in meat, bread, fats, potatoes, and sugar/confectionery was inversely related to α-tocopherol levels (β, -0.032, SE = 0.016; p = 0.047). Prospective studies are warranted to evaluate the actual impact of the reported findings in terms of nutrition and health outcomes.


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