Vitamin E It was first discovered by Evans and Bishop in 1922. Vitamin E is not just a vitamin. In fact, vitamin E contains a variety of fat-soluble compounds. Alpha-tocopherol is the most common substance in the human body. Vitamin E is stored in the fat tissue of the body, so it is not necessary to take it every day.
Why We Need Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an essential nutrient for our eyesight, brain, blood, skin and immune system. Vitamin E is also a potent antioxidant that helps fight free radicals in cells. Free radicals are molecules that are produced after exposure to environmental factors such as smoking, pollution, UV rays, and radiation. Antioxidant vitamins first discovered in the 1980s are associated with cell breakdown. Vitamin E protects the body from free radical damage. But vitamin E has a strong dependence on vitamin C, vitamin B3, selenium, and glutathione, which means that a diet rich in vitamin E cannot be optimal if it is not taken in conjunction with other nutrients.
Vitamin E deficiencies are, thankfully, rare. Those with deficiencies often have a disease which is linked to fats not being properly digested or absorbed such as Chron’s disease or cystic fibrosis. A vitamin E deficiency can cause muscle and nerve damage that can result in the loss of feeling in limbs, loss of body movement and control, muscle weakness, vision problems and the weakening of the immune system.
Benefits of Vitamin E
Outside of fighting off free radicals and supporting your immune system, vitamin E has a list of other potential benefits.
Helps reduce the risk of age-related eye degeneration
A 2015 study conducted by the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Qingdao University School of Medicine found that vitamin E intake and high serum tocopherol levels were associated with a reduced risk of age-related degeneration.
Can Aid in Muscle Repair
The U.S. National Library of Medicine performed a study in 2015 that showed that vitamin E assists in muscle repair after exercise.
A Possible Treatment for Wrinkles and Dark Under-Eye Circles
In 2004, the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology did a study on topical gels that contained vitamin E as well as a few other vitamins and found it be effective at reducing wrinkles and dark circles around the eye area.
May Reduce Period Cramps
In 2004, the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology performed a study on girls taking vitamin E supplements. The girls taking the supplement reported less period discomfort and blood loss.
May help delay memory decline
High doses of vitamin E may delay the development of mild to moderate memory decline, according to one study.
Assist in Creating Stronger Nails
There is some evidence that vitamin E can help strengthen nails and help them grow as found in a 2016 review in the Indian Dermatology Online Journal.
Sources of Vitamin E
Vitamin E is found in plenty of food sources but it is the most rich in seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils. Here are some of the foods that contain the most vitamin E.
- Wheat Germ Oil
- Sunflower Seeds
Can Vitamin E be Harmful?
Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin E, have a higher toxicity potential than water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C. Although it is highly unlikely that you will be getting toxic substances from your diet alone, excess vitamin E can be harmful. Excess vitamin E can cause nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fatigue, weakness, headaches, blurred vision, bruising and bleeding. Although vitamin E is safe when taken in moderation, taking large doses by mouth can cause problems.