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Vitamin E

What is Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant that is beneficial for immune health and cellular signaling in your body. The antioxidant properties of vitamin E may help to protect cells from free radicals which formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. It also formed due to various environmental pollution such as cigarette smoking, air pollution, and ultraviolet light from the sun.

Vitamin E uses, benefits for skin, hair, vision, menopause, immune system with natural dietary supplements and deficiency

Vitamin E contains eight organic compounds that include four tocopherols and four tocotrienols but alpha-tocopherol is the only biologically active form used by the human body.

A deficiency of vitamin E in the United States and other developed counties is rare because it is found in a variety of foods and supplements. The deficiency may be observed in people with certain genetic disorders and in premature infants.

Benefits of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is beneficial for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and eyes and strengthens your immune system that defense against illness and infection. It is also helpful in treating many other unhealthy conditions in humans but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses.

Generally, people can get enough of this vitamin in their daily diet but it is also available in the form of supplements and skin care products. The main benefits of vitamin E reached foods and supplements may include:

  • Protect the body from free radicals
  • Improving your immune system
  • Improving your skin health
  • Control your hair fall
  • Help to improve vision
  • Balancing cholesterol
  • Balances hormones
  • Decreasing the risk of cancer
  • Help in cognitive decline/Alzheimer’s Disease

Protect the body from free radicals

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble micronutrient that has antioxidant properties. The powerful antioxidant abilities of various isomers of vitamin E can reduce the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals may break down healthy cells in your body and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, oxidative stress, and age-related macular degeneration.

Free radicals are highly energetic molecules that produce naturally during many biological processes such as the conversion of food into energy. They also enter your body due to environmental stress such as pollution, UV radiation, or smoke.

Vitamin E for the immune system

Vitamin E is found in higher concentrations in immune cells compared to other cells in your blood. It supports your immune system by the production of T cells which is essential for effective immune response.

Vitamin E is one of the most effective antioxidants that defend against oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that damage the lipid membranes and DNA of your cells.

If your body does not have enough antioxidants, the toxic free radicals can not neutralize. Therefore, the lipid layers of cells can be damaged which can disrupt cell integrity. The deficiency may also cause DNA damage and protein oxidation which causes ageing. Therefore, as an antioxidant, vitamin E supports your immune system and reduces oxidative stress.

Vitamin E benefits for skin

Vitamin E is found in various creams and oils for topical use. It is added to many cosmetic products such as anti-aging creams, eye serums, sunscreens, and makeup products. The most common benefits of vitamin E for your skin may include:

  • The antiinflammation properties of this vitamin may protect your skin from UV radiation. Taking vitamin E with vitamin C may be useful in decreasing signs of acne and eczema.
  • Various researches indicated that topical use of vitamin E reduced acute and chronic skin damage caused by ultraviolet rays from sunlight. It can remove scars, acne, and wrinkles because it speeds up cell regeneration. Therefore, it makes your skin look healthier and younger.
  • Many researchers have shown that skin care products containing vitamin E can moisturize your skin. It works as a humectant that absorbs water into the skin and an emollient that traps water in the skin.
  • Vitamin E oil is distinct from vitamin supplements because it is an excellent moisturizer for dry, patchy areas of the skin.

Benefits in menopause

Vitamin E is a proven remedy for hot flashes and night sweats during menopause. Naturally occurring mixture of tocopherols and tocotrienols is beneficial in the prevention of hot flashes, night heat, sleep disruption, bladder urgency and leaking, and other menopausal symptoms.

It is a useful remedy for early menopause when a woman may have occasional periods and her body is still capable of making some estrogen. This vitamin helps to stabilize or balance estrogen levels in women’s bodies. The hormone-balancing effect may be effective to improve mental clarity, mood changes, and better sleep.

It also helps to relieve vaginal dryness that faces many women during the menopausal period. Dryness or tightness of vaginal opening, post-coital bleeding, vaginal discharge, and bladder leakage occurs due to declining estrogen levels during the menopausal period.

It impacts women’s social lives, confidence, sex lives, and their partner relationship. Vitamin E reached foods and supplements may help to reduce such health conditions.

Vitamin E for hair fall

Earlier research suggests that it may improve scalp circulation and prevent hair fall in many peoples but more research is needed to understand the possible benefits of this vitamin for healthy hair.

he supplementation may improve hair growth in people who suffer from hair fall problems. It helps to reduce oxidative stress on the scalp which is linked to hair fall problems.

It may increase blood flow which encouraged the growth of your hair. The oil reached with vitamin E helps seal out moisture, reduce breakage, and protect your hair from damage.

Help to improve vision

Vitamin E may protect eye cells from free radicals that break down your healthy eye tissue. It helps to decrease the age-related macular degeneration that is a common cause of blindness.

The National Eye Institute performs an Age-Related Eye Disease study and shows that a high dose of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc is effective for vision and reduces 25 percent of age-related macular degeneration.

It also found that daily intake of high doses of vitamin E and vitamin A seems to improve healing and vision in people undergoing laser eye surgery.

Balancing cholesterol

The forms of this vitamin called tocotrienols may fight against cholesterol oxidation because they protect against free radicals that cause cholesterol oxidation. Oxidation of LDL-cholesterol promotes blockages in coronary arteries that lead to atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Therefore, vitamin E functions as an antioxidant that reduces the oxidation of cholesterol and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Tocotrienols positively impact cardiovascular health due to their ability to reduce the activity of an enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase) that controls the production and synthesis of cholesterol.

Some research suggests that tocotrienols may improve arterial health, control high blood pressure, and reduce the risk of other heart-related conditions. However, much of this research has been done on animals rather than humans. Therefore, more studies on humans are needed in order to confirm these effects.

Decreasing the risk of cancer

The cancer-preventive activity of various isomers of vitamin E has been suggested by many researchers. However, several recent large-scale human trials with α-tocopherol failed to show a cancer-preventive effect.

Some scientific evidence suggests that the consumption of vitamin E may reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer.

A large, randomized SELECT trial of selenium and vitamin E with 400 IU daily supplementation may not reduce the risk for prostate cancer in healthy men aged 50 and older. However, men who had taken this vitamin had a higher risk of prostate cancer compared to men who does not take this.

Alzheimer’s Disease

An older review suggests that higher consumption of this vitamin from foods lowered the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive decline.

Researchers hypothesize that free-radical may damage the neurons over time and contributes to cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, sufficient supplementation might reduce the risk of such diseases.

Most clinical trials may not support these hypotheses and show that there are no beneficial results of vitamin E supplements for healthy or mildly impaired people to maintain good cognitive performance. Therefore, more research is needed to identify the benefits of vitamin E in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive decline.

Sources of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is found naturally in various plant and animal-based food sources. Gamma-tocopherol (γ-tocopherol) is the most common form in the North American diet but alpha-tocopherol (α-tocopherol) is the most biologically active form of this vitamin.

Vitamin E dietary food sources and best supplement for health with benefits and deficiency

The daily recommended amounts of this vitamin may be fulfilled by eating the following foods given below the table,

Plant-based source Amount
(mg / 100 g)
Animal-based source Amount
(mg / 100 g)
Wheat germ oil 150 Fish 1.0-2.8
Hazelnut oil 47 Oysters 1.7
Sunflower oil 41.1 Butter 1.6
Almond oil 39.2 Cheese 0.6-07
Almonds 25.6 Eggs 1.1
Corn oil, olive oil 14-15 Chicken 0.3
Peanuts, Peanut butter 9-9.3 Pork 0.1
Avocados 2.6 Beef 0.1
Spinach, raw 2.0 Milk, whole 0.1
Asparagus 1.5 Milk, skim 0.01

Dietary recommendations

The United States National Academy of Medicine suggests average requirements (EARs) and recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for vitamin E. The EARs and RDAs recommended values vary by age and gender. The EAR value for women and men ages 14 and up is 12 mg/day and the RDA value is 15 mg/day.

The RDAs values for alpha-tocopherol in milligrams (mg) are given below in the table,

Age Daily recommended value (mg)
children ages 1–3 years 6
ages 4–8 years 7
ages 9–13 years 11
ages 14–18 years 15
adults aged above 18 15
during pregnancy 15
during lactation 19

Adequate intakes (AIs) are set when there is not sufficient information obtained from EARs and RDAs.

AIs were developed for healthy breastfed babies because insufficient data are obtained from RDAs. AI value for children ages 0–6 months is 4 mg/day and AI for children ages 7–12 months is 5 mg/day.

Vitamin E Deficiency

The deficiency is rare in the United States and other developing counties because it is found in a variety of foods and supplements.

The deficiency may also cause due to diseases where fat is not properly digested or absorbed. Therefore, digestive disorders such as pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease may cause this vitamin deficiency.

Genetic abnormality is one of the most common reasons that cause alpha-tocopherol transfer protein (α-TTP) deficiency. Large amounts of dietary supplements of alpha-tocopherol are needed to overcome the lack of α-TTP.

The most common signs and symptoms of this vitamin deficiency may include:

  • Vision problems (damage to the retina of the eyes or retinopathy)
  • Peripheral neuropathy (nerve and muscle damage that results in loss of feeling in the arms and legs)
  • Ataxia (loss of body movement control, muscle weakness)
  • Weakened immune system

Vitamin E Supplement

It is a fat-soluble micronutrient and its dietary form is commonly esterified with acetic acid to generate tocopheryl acetate. It is also dissolved in vegetable oil to obtain softgel capsule. The supplements typically contain alpha-tocopherol, although mixed products of other tocopherols and tocotrienols are also available in the market.

Most vitamin E supplements contain less than or equal to 67 mg (100 IU) of the nutrient which is substantially higher than the RDAs recommended values. Smaller amounts are observed in various multivitamins or multimineral tablets.

Best vitamin E supplement

The supplements are available in a variety of forms such as capsules, softgels, liquid, and chewable tablets. The best brands of vitamin E supplements and their comparison to others are given below in the table,

Brand Cost around Quantity Format Dosage (mg)
Nordic Naturals $35 30 softgel 22.5
Ancient Nutrition $28 60 capsule 95
Nature Made $11 100 softgel 180
Naturelo $30 90 capsule 180
Natures Plus $36 90 chewable tablet 268
Solgar $15 2 fl oz liquid 100
Kirkland Signature $15 500 softgel 180
Garden of Life $29 60 capsule 125
CVS Health $15 100 180

Alpha-tocopherol is an ideal form of this vitamin because it is biologically active and most well-absorbed by your body.

The deficiency of vitamin E is rare for healthy people and supplements are generally not necessary unless your doctor instructed you to take them. Therefore, you can take supplements if your doctor may confirm that you need or deficiency in vitamin E.