It exists in 8 different forms, tocopherol being the most active one. Tocopherol is a powerful antioxidant, and that’s where numerous health benefits of vitamin E mostly come from. But let’s take a look at some of them.
The Antioxidant Activity of Vitamin E
Discovered in 1922, vitamin E has always attracted a huge amount of attention of scientists from different fields. The reason for this lies in its powerful antioxidant activity.
As we have mentioned before, vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin stored in the liver, which has the capacity to fight free radicals that cause cell structure damage. Together with vitamins C, B3, selenium and glutathione, vitamin E fights and prevents the oxidative stress caused by free radicals, and in this way protects our body against many diseases.
Vitamin E protects also vitamin A, as well as other antioxidants in foods from being oxidized, and in this way acts as a food preservative.
All in all, being such a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E plays the key role in many physiological processes, and has an endless number of health benefits. Listed below are some of the most important ones.
Skin protection and hair care
One of the greatest health benefits of vitamin E lies in its ability to protect our skin against ultraviolet radiation and ozone, which are some of the major causes of premature aging and skin cancer.
It also helps skin retain its natural moisture content, as well as recover from acne and scars. It has the capacity to speed up skin cell regeneration.
Vitamin E is also an important hair care vitamin, for it increases blood circulation to the scalp.
Researches have shown that adequate amounts of vitamin E can reduce the risk of prostate and bladder cancer. Vitamin E protects against oxidative DNA damage in human cells and inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
Anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties
Studies have also proven that vitamin E can combat and relieve arthritis, rheumatism, asthma, and other inflammatory disorders and diseases. It can also alleviate arthritic pain.
Cholesterol reduction and the prevention of coronary heart diseases
Another fabulous health benefit of vitamin E lies in its capacity to inhibit the oxidation of cholesterol, and thereby prevent it from turning into bad cholesterol. For this reason, vitamin E is very useful in preventing the formation of blood clots, which can lead to strokes, heart attacks and coronary heart diseases.
In other words, vitamin E thins the blood and enhances blood flow.
Vitamin E helps maintain proper brain function and memory in old age. It is useful in the prevention of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and strokes, as well as in treating migraines.
Vitamin E helps also the eyes stay healthy. It is important in preventing and reducing cataracts and macular degeneration.
This vitamin lowers blood pressure and helps prevent anemia and varicose veins.
Natural Sources of Vitamin E
Human body cannot produce vitamin E by itself, and it is therefore important to consume foods that contain it. However, a vitamin E deficiency is very rare, for it is a fat soluble vitamin that our body can store for up to 6 months.
Good natural sources of vitamin E are:
- vegetable oils (corn, safflower, soybean, sunflower)
- olive oil
- sunflower seeds
- fortified cereals
- dark green vegetables (mustard greens, kale, asparagus, collard greens, spinach, broccoli)
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin E
According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, the recommended daily intake of vitamin E is as follows:
- 0 – 6 months 4 mg (6 IU)
- 7 – months 5 mg (7.5 IU)
- 1 – 3 years 6 mg (9 IU)
- 4 – 8 years 7 mg (10.4 IU)
- 9 – 13 years 11 mg (16.4 IU)
- 14 years and up 15 mg (22.4 IU)
- Pregnancy 15 mg (22.4 IU)
- Lactation 19 mg (28.4 IU)
Hopefully this post has helped you understand better all of the important health benefits of vitamin E. Any questions or ideas? Let us know in the comment section below.