The chain-breaking (peroxyl radical-trapping) antioxidant activity of plasma obtained from several patients with a very severe vitamin E deficiency has been measured. The total chain-breaking antioxidant activity in lipid extracts has been shown to be approximately equal to the concentration of vitamin E. For whole plasma there is no significant difference in the concentrations of water-soluble, chain-breaking antioxidants between the E-deficient patients and healthy adults. It is concluded that even in cases of very severe vitamin E deficiency the requirement for this vitamin is not met by some other exogenous or endogenous antioxidant. © 1987.
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