What You Should Know About Vitamin E Supplements
By Khrystyana Kirton
Edited by Stephanie Dawson
Vitamin E is one of the most popular vitamin supplements on the market. The majority of vitamin E’s benefits stem from its antioxidant qualities. That means it combines with oxygen and destroys free radicals. It protects polyunsaturated fats and other oxygen-sensitive compounds such as vitamin A from being destroyed by damaging oxidation reactions.
It should be mentioned that there are a variety of other benefits of vitamin E for skin care:
- vitamin E products may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks
- vitamin E can help prevent the appearance of age spots
- it helps maintain the skin’s oil balance during the cleansing process
- it reduces transepidermal water loss from skin and strengthens the skin’s barrier function
Overall for skin care, more benefit is obtained from topical application of vitamin E through creams or lotions rather than taking vitamin E orally. The skin is able to absorb natural vitamin E effectively, but taking vitamin E orally is important for health in other areas of the body.
The recommended skin lotions and creams by many experts are those that contain the alcohol form of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) instead of the acetate form (alpha-tocopherol acetate). The acetate form does not penetrate the skin’s surface well and provides less of the benefits of vitamin E such as antioxidant activity for the skin.
Why is vitamin E important for good health?
There are several benefits for the body. Some preliminary studies involving intake of vitamin E higher than the daily-recommended requirement have shown that vitamin E may be useful in the treatment of, or possibly preventing:
- menstrual pain
- low sperm count
- inflammation of eye tissues
- restless leg syndrome or relief from muscle cramping
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- rheumatoid arthritis
- various diabetes-related complications (and may be helpful in treating and preventing diabetes)
- cardiovascular disease
- prostate cancer and breast cancer
Benefits of vitamin E also include helping the body increase and regulate the levels of vitamin A in the body and as a general immune system booster, especially in older adults. Topical vitamin E might also promote good blood circulation and prevent the formation of blood clots, especially in people with diabetes.
The problem is that although it is agreed that vitamin E is a very useful and essential vitamin for humans (especially for its antioxidant activity), many of the stated benefits of vitamin E are anecdotal. There are few in-depth studies available to verify some of the vitamin E benefits claims that are being made, however, there are numerous informal reports of individuals insisting significant health benefits with increased levels of vitamin E. Further scientific study will help to target specifically whether vitamin E truly does play a role in treating or preventing the conditions mentioned above.
Vitamin E, WebMD – http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-954-VITAMIN%20E.aspx?activeIngredientId=954&activeIngredientName=VITAMIN%20E
Benefits of Vitamin E Oil For Skin, LiveStrong – http://www.livestrong.com/article/25515-benefits-vitamin-e-oil-skin/
Vitamin E, Mayo Clinic – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-e/NS_patient-vitamine
Vitamin E, The Vitamins Center – http://www.vitamins-nutrition.org/vitamins/vitamin-e.html