The Benefits of Vitamin E
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The Benefits of Vitamin E

What are the health benefits of vitamin E? The antioxidant effects of vitamin E benefit the skin as well as the cardiovascular system and our overall health. In this article, the functions of vitamin E, and its overall beneficial effects on the body are discussed as well as the foods that are high in vitamin E and supplementation.

Most of us know vitamin E as a topical agent used for sunburns. It typically appears in combination with aloe vera. What most of us don’t know is vitamin E is a very potent antioxidant.

What Are Antioxidants?

The term antioxidant has recently become quite a buzz word used to describe agents that help to slow the aging process. They neutralize free radicals which are the product of a chemical reaction known as oxidation. This reaction is the result of our body’s daily metabolic processes. Free radicals can build up in our cells causing irreparable damage and lead to the death of the cell itself. They can also cause mutations in our DNA when not kept in proper balance which can lead to many diseases such as cancer. Antioxidants keep these free radicals from running wild.

There are two main types of antioxidants:hydrophilic, or water soluble, and hydrophobic, or lipid (fat) soluble. Vitamin E is a hydrophobic polyphenol and is most commonly known as Alpha-Tocopherol, or Alpha-Tocotrienol. The term polyphenol simply describes its chemical structure. Polyphenol antioxidants include flavonoids and vitamin C, and can be found in fruits and vegetables, honey, wine, chocolate, and teas especially black and green teas. Coffee contains diterpene antioxidants.

The Benefits Of Vitamin E on the Heart

Vitamin E’s antioxidant effects benefit the cardiovascular system. It protects against the ill effects of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). It also improves the quality of endothelium cells in the vascular walls reducing the risk of coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis. Along with its antioxidant effects, Vitamin E has been shown to activate the connective tissue growth factor, or CTGF, gene which promotes healing. There is some research that suggests vitamin E acts as a blood thinner deterring platelets from clumping together, known as platelet aggregation, protecting the brain from strokes.

The Benefits of Vitamin E on the Skin

The most notorious function of vitamin E is the effect it has on the skin. Its antioxidant properties promote the healing of burns and other wounds while offering soothing relief from the pain and lessening the likelihood of scarring. It also helps to prevent damage caused by dangerous ultraviolet light which has lead to the belief by some that vitamin E has anti-aging properties. Although not scientifically proven, there is some evidence to support vitamin E may be therapeutic to those suffering from acne when the gel is applied to the affected area.

Foods With Vitamin E and Vitamin E Supplements

Vitamin E can be found in over-the-counter supplement form, typically in 200, 400 and occasionally 800 IU, however; it is more beneficial to get one’s daily dose of vitamin E through diet. Asparagus, avocados, broccoli, leafy green vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, beets, and collard greens, mangos, nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, etc), safflower and sunflower oil, tomato products, hemp and wheat germ all contain large amounts of the vitamin with wheat germ and hemp containing the most. The USDA recommended daily allowance for adults and teens aged 14 and over is 15 mg. Since vitamin E is measured in International Units, abbreviated IU, 15 mg of natural vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol) is equivalent to 22.35 IU and natural vitamin E 400 IU, which is a standard dose for an over-the-counter supplement, is equivalent to 450 mg.

Photo by Daughter of Maat

© Copyright 2012 by Daughter of Maat ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Comments (5)

Great article..and detailed information... Thanks for sharing... Recommended.

Great article. My mom took vitamin E and other vitamins she thought would help her stay healthy but she still died early with complications of diabetes. I hope I live linger than she did. I used to take vitamins but now I just eat plenty of fruits and veggies.

Really useful article full of information people can easily use. Great job Melissa!

Vitamin E is very important.  Nice job on this.

Excellent article, Melissa -- I learned a great deal about this vitamin. Thanks for the info!