We all know that consuming essential vitamins and minerals each day is a must, but sometimes we’re not sure exactly why.
In this article we’re going to focus on the benefits of Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin found in many every day foods. Discover the benefits, precautions, possible side effects and what dosages you should aim for.
Why Vitamin E is Essential in Your Diet
1. It is an Antioxidant
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, meaning that they protect your cells from serious damage. While this crucial nutrient occurs naturally in many foods, it is also available in supplement form that you can buy. Since vitamin E is fat-soluble, this means excess intake can be used in the future.
2. Longer cell life
Oxidation and accelerated aging occur when cells come into contact with molecules called free radicals that weaken and break down healthy cells. Free radicals are naturally formed, but also contribute to chronic diseases such as heart diseases and shorten your body cells’ lifespan.
As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E is linked to possibly reducing free radical damage and slowing down the aging process of body cells. It has thus become a potential treatment for a variety of degenerative diseases including hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure.
Those with higher environmental or lifestyle risk factors such as cigarette smoking, exposure to air pollution and high ultraviolet rays exposure from sunlight have high amounts of free radicals, something that vitamin E can help with.
3. Getting moisturized skin and reducing itchiness
Vitamin E is an ingredient in many moisturizers that prevents or treats dry, flaking skin. While it is not a direct treatment of allergic reactions, infections, and other issues that lead to itchy skin, its moisturizing properties offer short-term relief to the itching caused by such dry skin.
A study found that vitamin E supplements could produce noteworthy improvements in atopic dermatitis, which is more commonly known as eczema. Although not yet well-researched, it may increase the effectiveness of topical moisturizers. For those without allergies, using the vitamin as a moisturizer for wounds may offer some benefits in the healing process. Drop vitamin E oil to a thick moisturizing cream to maximize the cream’s moisturizing benefits.
4. Preventing or treating fine lines and wrinkles
Dry skin has a more wrinkly appearance as compared to well-moisturized skin. As such, the moisturizing benefits of vitamin E oil may help the skin look more youthful. However, the common claim that vitamin E treats wrinkles is scientifically unfounded so instead of solely relying on it, we’d recommend avoiding direct sunlight and wearing sunscreen if you want to prevent developing wrinkles.
5. Sunburn prevention
Vitamin E may help to reduce the risk of sunburn, albeit with limited research done thus far. This is likely because of vitamin E oil’s soothing properties for dry, flaky skin that may help to relieve the burning and itching caused by a serious sunburn.
At least one study links the consumption of vitamin E to the reduction in psoriasis symptoms with no serious side effects. Although not as effective as prescription remedies and for those with severe psoriasis, vitamin E oil might serve as a good alternative for those looking to avoid formal treatment.
How Much Should You Consume?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin E for anyone over the age of 14 is 15 milligrams (mg). While overdosing on vitamin E just with food alone is rare, high doses of vitamin E supplements can cause severe side effects such as an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
Ways to get your Vitamin E
The following foods are good sources of vitamin E: peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, kale, spinach, broccoli, kiwifruit, mango, and tomatoes. An easy way to get more vitamin E in your diet is to add a tablespoon of wheat germ oil to any recipe. When making kale or spinach salad, toss in some hazelnuts or sunflower nuts to get a crunchy boost of vitamin E in a more creative way.
Risks and Complications
As mentioned earlier, vitamin E may trigger an allergic reaction for some people, causing irritation in the skin and make skin problems worse. Those prone to allergy or have a history of allergic reactions should avoid vitamin E altogether, or should at least test it on a small area of skin first.
Since vitamin E oil is most commonly used as a supplement and a beauty product, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate it and there might be other factors that lead to two vitamin E oils with very different concentrations and effects in the same person. With the number of ingredients added to many vitamin E products, it is thus important to read the label carefully and consult a doctor when unsure about the safety or suitability of a product for yourself.
Vitamin E Supplements
Although it comes in various forms, Vitamin E supplements are not for everyone, and some may experience strong side effects upon consumption, such as diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, weakness, tiredness, headaches, rashes, etc.
Even for those who don’t experience side effects, too much vitamin E supplements can also cause problems such as mild blood thinning, excessive bleeding, weakness, nausea, blurred vision, and gonadal dysfunction; high doses are discouraged and you should be mindful if you’re taking other supplements that might have a similar effect, for instance, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, ginseng or garlic.
For those with Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis or an inability to secrete bile from the liver into the digestive tract, taking the water-soluble, supplemental forms of vitamin E might be the only way to avoid digestive problems.
Should you decide to start taking supplements, remember to do your research on how much vitamin E to take for your age, gender, and condition. You can buy vitamin E capsules over-the-counter in doses of 100 international units (IU), 200 IU, 400 IU, 600 IU, or 1000 IU. If you miss a dosage, skip it and take your next dosage as soon as you can instead of doubling your dosage.
Vitamin E Deficiency
Although it is rare for people to suffer from vitamin E deficiency, there are still some risk groups that are likely to have it. This includes infants and people with fat malabsorption and abetalipoproteinemia that prevents the body from absorbing certain dietary fats.
Symptoms of the deficiency to look out for include anemia, skeletal myopathy, peripheral neuropathy, retinopathy, impairment of the immune response and nerve damage.
Green TONIK and Vitamin E
Our green powder supplement SuperGreen TONIK includes 72% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin E in every serving.
Taking your daily green tonik ensures you get your daily vitamin and mineral intake in a simple and no fuss way.
Just mix one scoop into cold water (or your favourite smoothie) and your set for the day!