Snack Size Science: The new kid in vitamin E town

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Snack size science, Tocopherol

NutraIngredient’s Snack Size Science brings you the week's top science. This week we consider the discovery of a new form of vitamin E in the peel of kiwifruit. Italian researchers reveal the furry little fruits secret nutrient content.

The following is a transcript of this podcast:

This is NutraIngredients’s Snack Size Science​. I’m Stephen Daniells - bringing you the week’s top science in digestible amounts.

This week we meet the new kid in vitamin E town.

When people think of the goodness of a kiwifruit, vitamin C usually tops the list. And it is no wonder with one kiwifruit giving you one and a half times the US daily recommended intake of vitamin C.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Italian researchers reported this week that the peel of the furry little fruit may contain a new form of vitamin E.

Traditionally, there are eight forms of the vitamin. These include four types of tocopherols, named alpha, beta, gamma, and delta, and four tocotrienols, again named alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. The most well-known form, and the form mostly used in supplements, is alpha-tocopherol.

Fruit in general are not good sources of vitamin E, with the exception of avocados and kiwifruit. And according to research published in the journal Food Chemistry​, not only are kiwifruit a good source of alpha- and delta-tocopherol, but also a new vitamin E, named delta-tocomonoenol.

The Naples-based researchers state that extracts from the peel of green kiwifruit, or Actinidia deliciosa​ 'Hayward' to give the cultivar its full name, contained significant quantities of delta-tocomonoenol.

Tests showed good antioxidant activity for the compound, better even than delta-tocopherol.

Dr Tony McGhie from New Zealand’s HortResearch told me that adding a new compound to the vitamin E category may confer a unique biological property for kiwifruit, and be something we might want to exploit.

Unfortunately, the new vitamin could only be found in the peel and not the pulp of the fruit, meaning the beauty of this new form of vitamin E really is only skin deep.

For NutraIngredients Snack Size Science, I’m Stephen Daniells.

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