Vitamin E (Tocopherol/Tocotrienol)
View this Vitamin E (Tocopherol/Tocotrienol) mnemonic and other USMLE mnemonics in the Vitamins playlist.

Vitamin E (Tocopherol/Tocotrienol)

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Summary

Vitamin E refers to a group of fat-soluble vitamins including tocopherol and tocotrienol, for which the exact biological function is poorly understood. An excess of Vitamin E has been found to alter the function of vitamin K, enhancing warfarin's anticoagulant effects. Vitamin E deficiency can cause neurological problems, specifically affecting the spinocerebellar tract and dorsal columns. Deficiency can also lead to the finding of acanthocytosis (red blood cells with spiked cell membranes). As an antioxidant, deficiency of Vitamin E can lead to oxidative damage to red blood cells, resulting in hemolytic anemia.

Key Points

  • Vitamin E (tocopherol/tocotrienol)
    • Antioxidant
      • protects RBCs and membranes from free radical damage
    • Fat-soluble
    • Biological function is not well understood
    • High-dose supplementation alters function of vitamin K
      • increases warfarin anticoagulation
      • may increase risk of hemorrhage (e.g. hemorrhagic stroke)
  • Vitamin E Deficiency
    • Usually caused by fat malabsorption (e.g. gastric bypass, abetalipoproteinemia)
    • Acanthocytosis
      • red blood cells with spiny projections
    • Neurological abnormalities
      • Posterior column and spinocerebellar tract demyelination
        • often presents with progressive ataxia
      • retinitis pigmentosa
    • Hemolytic anemia and muscle weakness also seen



Find Vitamin E and other Vitamins among Pixorize's visual mnemonics for the USMLE Step 1 and NBME shelf exams.