Merck India publishes first vitamin E handbook to aid healthcare professionals and raise public awareness

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Though people have become more knowledgeable about different vitamins and their health benefits, only 9% of Indians are familiar with the applications and benefits of vitamin E. ©Getty Images
Though people have become more knowledgeable about different vitamins and their health benefits, only 9% of Indians are familiar with the applications and benefits of vitamin E. ©Getty Images

Related tags: Vitamin e, India, Diabetes, Metabolism

Merck Consumer Health India has published India's first handbook on vitamin E, edited by leading healthcare practitioners and experts, Dr YK Gupta and Dr AC Anand.

The former is principle project advisor at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute's biotechnology department, and the latter senior consultant (hepatology and gastroenterology) and transplant hepatologist at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi.

The book, simply titled Vitamin E​, contains detailed information about the multiple applications of vitamin E as a supplement, with contributions from a panel of 13 specialists and other industry experts to support these claims.

These include KM Prasanna Kumar, senior professor and department head of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at the MS Ramaiah Medical College in Bengaluru; Manmohan Mehndiratta, director-professor in the Department of Neurology at the Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in New Delhi; and Monica Bambroo, department head of Dermatology and Cosmetology at Artemis Hospitals in Gurugram, and India director and co-founder of the Anugraha Urology and Skin Clinic in Ghaziabad.

Merck's associate project manager Akshay Muttreja told NutraIngredients-Asia​: "Dr Gupta and Dr Anand are both leading healthcare practitioners, and well regarded by doctors across different specialties. They have both seen the role and manifold applications of vitamin E in several cases through their combined practice.

"The other industry experts were chosen (as contributors) so the book would showcase a holistic view of the benefits of vitamin E across different health verticals."

Filling the knowledge gap

Though people have become more knowledgeable about different vitamins and their health benefits, only 9% of Indians are familiar with the applications and benefits of vitamin E.

For instance, many use vitamin E when ill, but despite 30% of the population suffering from allergic rhinitis and asthma, few know about how vitamin E's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can protect against both ailments.

Another example are women aged 40 to 50 — 50% suffer from fibrocystic breast disease, but far fewer are aware of how the antioxidant effects of vitamin E can help to fight the disease.

This dearth of public awareness drove Merck to publish the handbook in an effort to keeping medical professionals in India up to date with the latest knowledge and applications of vitamin E, which will in turn improve public health.

Muttreja said, "This book covers the unknown benefits of vitamin E across healthcare applications. These include allergic rhinitis and asthma, dermatological conditions, cardiovascular diseases, paediatric conditions, gynaecological conditions, liver diseases, musculoskeletal conditions, diabetes, ophthalmologic conditions, autoimmune conditions, diseases related to the central nervous system, and cancer.

"These topics were chosen as the various properties of vitamin E can in some way help to tackle or control the aforementioned conditions. The awareness in India is very low with regards to these benefits of vitamin E."

While the book is presently available solely to healthcare professionals across India, the company plans to widen its target audience in 2019.

Widening potential

The general lack of awareness of vitamin E's benefits and applications in India is also hampering its true potential from being achieved, something Merck hopes to change with the publication and distribution of this handbook.

Muttreja said, "While most individuals resort to vitamin E for common ailments, the true potential of this nutraceutical still witnesses a lack of awareness on a large scale.

"The purpose of this book is to highlight the fact that vitamin E also offers protection against an extensive list of lifestyle-induced issues that are not usually in the spotlight."

Alluding to the limited use of vitamin E in cases of asthma and fibrocystic breast disease, he added: "Only a few know that the antioxidant properties of vitamin E can help to tackle these diseases to great effect, and these are just a few examples of how stark the lack of awareness of vitamin E is across the different demographics in India."

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