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Heart attack: The vitamin deficiency that could increase your risk of heart complications

Heart attack: Experts claim a vegan diet can 'help prevent' them

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A heart attack is when one of the heart’s arteries becomes suddenly blocked, preventing blood from reaching the vital organ. The patterns of symptoms that develop with each incident are linked to the location and extent of this blockage, as are the chances of survival. One vitamin deficiency may increase the chances of the life-threatening condition.

The consumption of foods rich in vitamin E has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease in middle-aged to older men and women.

Various studies have evaluated the antioxidant effects of vitamin E against coronary diseases.

Some data suggest that vitamin E may aid in the oxidisation of low-density lipoprotein, also known as bad cholesterol.

The vitamin may also decrease the deposition of these fatty deposits on the arterial walls, reducing the chances of blockages.

READ MORE: Vitamin D deficiency: The feeling in your tongue that could signal dangerously low levels

The fat-soluble vitamin has been shown to enhance immune function and prevent clotting in the heart arteries.

It does so by protecting cells from free radical damage, and in some cases has been found to halt the production of free radicals altogether.

Free radicals can be detrimental because they cause a long chain chemical reaction in the body that results in oxidation.

They are produced naturally in the body during various processes, including converting food into energy.

They may also enter the body through pollution, sunlight and smoke.

Oxidative stress is one of the key drivers of ageing and a vast number of illnesses, including cardiovascular disease.

People who report high intakes of vitamin A and E often have the fewest complaints of respiratory illnesses.

Signs that you have too little vitamin E in your body include body weakness, slow reflexes, difficulty or unsteady walking and vision problems.

Food sources

While health bodies do not recommend the use of vitamin E supplementation to prevent heart disease, eating foods rich in vitamin E is widely encouraged.

Such foods include an array of different nuts and seeds, notably sunflower seeds, peanuts and almonds.

Some leafy greens including spinach and Swiss chard contain a range of nutrients including vitamin E.

Vegetable oils such as sunflower, soybean and wheat germ oils are also considered top vitamin E food sources.

Symptoms of heart attack

The most acute symptoms of a heart attack are chest pain, which is often characterised as being heavy, burning or stabbing.

This pain tends to be focused either in the centre of the chest or below the centre of the rib cage and can spread to other parts of the body, like the jaw and neck.

Other symptoms of a heart attack include sudden weakness, breathlessness, vomiting, sweating and nausea.

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