The History of Vitamin E
Vitamin E was discovered by Herbert Evans and Katherine Bishop from Berkeley in 1922 when they isolated a fat-soluble factor from greens that allowed rats that were previously infertile, to deliver healthy offspring. It became the fifth vitamin to be isolated and was thought of as an anti-sterility factor. Because of this association with fertility it was later called Tocopherol from the Greek words “toc” (offspring) and “phero” (to bring forth) and has enjoyed humorous cultural references regarding virility since then. The original vitamin E isolated was Alpha Tocopherol. Because this was the original form, alpha tocopherol is legally labeled vitamin E. The natural form of vitamin E, is D alpha tocopherol and 95% of the vitamin E sold in the U.S. is D alpha tocopherol in a capsule. Asynthetic form of vitamin E labeled dl alpha tocopherol is also legally called vitamin E, but it is a much more difficult form for our body to utilize. Even the FDA recognizes that the natural form of vitamin E has a biopotency effect twice that of the synthetic dl form.
The natural form of vitamin E, D alpha tocopherol has been widely used as an antioxidant and was generally regarded as a sensible supplement to protect the body from free radical stress