Vitamin E (Alpha-Tocopherol) Metabolism and Nutrition in Chronic Kidney Disease

Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 May 18;11(5):989. doi: 10.3390/antiox11050989.


Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) is an essential micronutrient and fat-soluble antioxidant with proposed role in protecting tissues from uncontrolled lipid peroxidation. This vitamin has also important protein function and gene modulation effects. The metabolism of vitamin E depends on hepatic binding proteins that selectively retain food alpha-tocopherol for incorporation into nascent VLDL and tissue distribution together with esterified cholesterol and triglycerides. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition of oxidative stress and increased lipid peroxidation, that are associated with alterations of alpha-tocopherol metabolism and function. Specific changes have been reported for the levels of its enzymatic metabolites, including both short-chain and long-chain metabolites, the latter being endowed with regulatory functions on enzymatic and gene expression processes important for the metabolism of lipids and xenobiotics detoxification, as well as for the control of immune and inflammatory processes. Vitamin E therapy has been investigated in CKD using both oral vitamin E protocols and vitamin E-coated hemodialyzers, showing promising results in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, as well as of immune and hematological complications. These therapeutic approaches are reviewed in the present article, together with a narrative excursus on the main findings indicating CKD as a condition of relative deficiency and impaired metabolism of vitamin E.

Keywords: antioxidants; hemodialysis; lipid metabolism; lipidomics; membranes; metabolomics; renal disease; tocopherol; tocotrienol; vitamin E.

Publication types

  • Review