Staying Young with Vitamin E

Kelly Ludwig Lincoln-Way High School
1801 East Lincoln Highway
New Lenox IL 60451


This lesson is designed for a high school student. The main objective of
this Mini-teach is to explain how Vitamin E inhibits the oxidation of
phospholipid and glycolipid molecules in cell membranes possibly preventing the
aging of cells.

Materials Needed:

1 Apple/Banana
4 petri dishes
Vitamin E capsules
2 ml mineral oil


1. Label the petri dishes -- 1 each of air, oil, Vitamin E, and water
2. Cut three slices of apple or banana for each petri dish.
3. Coat the surface of the fruit with oil, Vitamin E, and water and place in
the appropriate dish. The control dish is air. Cover the petri dishes
with their lids.
4. Make observations.

Performance Assessment:

At the conclusion of the Mini-teach, students will be able to answer the
following questions:
1. Why do we age? Is oxidation involved?
2. Describe the structure of the cell membrane (The Fluid Mosaic Model).
3. What on the cell membrane enables the organism to recognize the cell as
self in addition to acting as receptors for specific hormones and other
chemical messengers for the cell?
4. How is aging an oxidation-reduction reaction?
5. Explain why the organism's immune system recognizes the cell as non-self
and destroys the cell.
6. How is this destruction prevented?
7. How does Vitamin E prevent aging? air? water? oil?
8. Discuss several life threatening problems that Vitamin E may be involved
in preventing.


Students will understand that a cell ages due to the oxidation of
phospholipid and glycolipid molecules in the membrane. Vitamin E may inhibit
this process.
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