Vitamin E is an important vitamin for your inner and outer health. While it is an important part of your diet, it can also help your skin and hair as well.This is because it moisturizes the skin and functions as a light sunscreen at the same time. Vitamin E has important health benefits and is an important part of a well-balanced diet and beauty regime.
Understanding the Health Benefits of Vitamin E
Learn why vitamin E is important to your health. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, meaning that it protects cells from the damage that can be caused by oxidizing agents, such as free radicals. Vitamin E is also important to the immune system, cell signaling, the expression of some genes, and a variety of chemical reactions in the body.Aalpha-tocopherol, a serum containing vitamin E, may slow down tumor growth, as well as reducing the risk of heart disease.
The liver absorbs alpha-tocopherol and then re-secretes it and distributes it throughout the body. Alpha-tocopherol functions as a potent antioxidant and protects cells from the damage that can be caused by high levels of free radicals (substances produced normally in all cells) and other oxidizing agents.
Learn about the additional health benefits of vitamin E. In addition to vitamin E’s function as an antioxidant, it may also help prevent clots from forming in arteries. This means that it may possibly prevent heart attacks.Vitamin E also supports the immune system and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Compare the research for using vitamin E for specific health conditions.
Vitamin E has some very specific health uses according to some medical experts. There are four main conditions that vitamin E has been said to help prevent or treat.
Heart disease: Vitamin E may prevent the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol. This is believed to help prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Vitamin E may also prevent platelets from aggregating and forming clots in the arteries around the heart — this is a major cause of heart attacks. Large studies have indicated that people who have higher vitamin E intakes tend to have lower rates of heart disease. There is no guarantee, of course, and some of the research is not as supportive of vitamin E as others are.
Cancer: Cancer represents well over 100 different diseases, so it may not be surprising that there are contradictions in the research on vitamin E and cancer. Several large and well-done trials have not found a significant benefit of taking supplemental Vitamin E. In fact, some studies have shown that taking supplemental vitamin E may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Eye diseases: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts cause significant vision loss, especially in older people. One large well-designed trial found that vitamin E, along with beta-carotene, Vitamin C, zinc and copper did reduce the risk of developing AMD.
Memory and concentration: The research has been contradictory regarding using vitamin E to prevent memory loss and improve concentration
Investigate the health risks of taking too much Vitamin E.
People often do not realize that you can have too much of a good thing. Vitamin E is fat soluble, so if you take too much vitamin E (usually as a supplement because it is really hard to get too much vitamin E from foods), it is stored in fatty tissue and can reach toxic levels.
The daily Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for vitamin E are 200 mg/300 IU (ages 1 – 3 years), 300 mg/450 IU (4 – 8 years), 600 mg/900 IU (9 – 13years), 800 mg/1200 IU (14 – 18 years) and 1000 mg/1500 IU (19 years and older).
Consult with your doctor about adding vitamin E to your diet.
If you are taking any medication, talk to your physician before adding vitamin E as a supplement. Vitamin E can interact with a number of medications. These include: blood thinners (anticoagulants), anti-platelet agents such as aspirin, NSAIDs (such as Tylenol and ibuprofen), clopidogrel (Plavix), statins (that lower cholesterol levels), and chemotherapeutic drugs.
Some studies have shown increased risk of death for those individuals taking 400 IU or more daily. At this point we just don’t know enough about the effects of taking too much vitamin E in supplements. This is one reason many naturopathic physicians recommend getting your vitamin E by eating a selection of foods that contain the natural forms.
Getting Vitamin E Through Diet and Supplements
Always follow recommended intakes. Intake recommendations are made for various vitamins and minerals and other nutrients by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies (formerly known as the National Academy of Sciences). These recommendations go through periodic reviews and represent the best recommendations that medical scientists can make. The FNB uses a number of different reference values:
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): This is the “average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97% – 98%) healthy people.”
Adequate Intake (AI): This value is established when “evidence is insufficient to develop an RDA and is set at a level assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy.”
Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL): This represents the “maximum daily intake unlikely to cause adverse health effects.”
Eat natural foods high in Vitamin E.
For most practical purposes, having a daily snack of seeds and nuts along with using 1 tablespoon of wheatgerm, sunflower, soybean or safflower oil should provide more than enough daily vitamin E. Good food sources of vitamin E include:
Wheat germ oil: 1 tablespoon provides 100% of the daily value (DV) for Vitamin E.
Dry roasted almonds
Dry roasted hazelnuts
Dry roasted peanuts
Take supplements with Vitamin E.
Most supplements provide alpha-tocopherol, one type of Vitamin E, while foods provide mixed tocopherols, a full spectrum of Vitamin E. In addition, synthetic forms of alpha-tocopherol contain eight possible chemical subtypes but only four of these chemicals are useful for the human body because of the stereoisomers that result from the synthetic process. This means that if you get the synthetic forms of alpha-tocopherol you need to take about twice as much.
If you decide to get vitamin E supplements, most naturopathic physicians recommend a whole-food source of those vitamins. In other words, most naturopathic physicians would not recommend the synthetic forms.
In addition, because food sources contain the mixed tocopherols, if you get the whole-food source of Vitamin E, you will be getting the mixed tocopherols.
Supplements derived from whole foods generally have this information prominently displayed on the box. Brands include Nature’s Way, Garden of Life, Mega Food and Actives.