Vitamin E refers to a group of compounds that include both tocopherols and tocotrienols. Of the many different forms of vitamin E, γ-tocopherol is the most common form found in the North American diet. γ-Tocopherol can be found in corn oil, soybean oil, margarine, and dressings. α-tocopherol, the most biologically active form of vitamin E, is the second-most common form of vitamin E in the diet. This variant can be found most abundantly in wheat germ oil, sunflower, and safflower oils. As a fat-soluble antioxidant, it stops the production of reactive oxygen species formed when fat undergoes oxidation. Regular consumption of more than 1,000 mg (1,500 IU) of tocopherols per day may be expected to cause hypervitaminosis E, with an associated risk of vitamin K deficiency and consequently of bleeding problems.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which may help protect your cells from damage. This essential nutrient occurs naturally in many foods, is available as a dietary supplement, and sometimes is added to processed foods. Vitamin E is fat-soluble, which means your body stores and uses it as needed.
Collectively, the term vitamin E describes eight different compounds, but alpha-tocopherol is the most active in humans.
It is found in many foods including vegetable oils, cereals, meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and wheat germ oil. It is also available as a supplement.
Vitamin E is used for treating vitamin E deficiency, which is rare, but can occur in people with certain genetic disorders and in very low-weight premature infants.
Some people use vitamin E for treating and preventing diseases of the heart and blood vessels including hardening of the arteries, heart attack, chest pain, leg pain due to blocked arteries, and high blood pressure.
Vitamin E is also used for treating diabetes and its complications. It is used for preventing cancer, particularly lung and oral cancer in smokers; colorectal cancer and polyps; and gastric, prostate, and pancreatic cancer.
Some people use vitamin E for diseases of the brain and nervous system including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease, night cramps, restless leg syndrome, and for epilepsy, along with other medications. Vitamin E is also used for Huntington’s chorea, and other disorders involving nerves and muscles.
Women use vitamin E for preventing complications in late pregnancy due to high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), painful periods, menopausal syndrome, hot flashes associated with breast cancer, and breast cysts.
Sometimes vitamin E is used to lessen the harmful effects of medical treatments such as dialysis and radiation. It is also used to reduce unwanted side effects of drugs such as hair loss in people taking doxorubicin and lung damage in people taking amiodarone.
Vitamin E is sometimes used for improving physical endurance, increasing energy, reducing muscle damage after exercise, and improving muscle strength.
Vitamin E is also used for cataracts, asthma, respiratory infections, skin disorders, aging skin, sunburns, cystic fibrosis, infertility, impotence, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), peptic ulcers, for certain inherited diseases and to prevent allergies.
Some people apply vitamin E to their skin to keep it from aging and to protect against the skin effects of chemicals used for cancer therapy (chemotherapy).
Skin care and hair care
Another widely known health benefit of vitamin E is in skin care and hair care. Owing to its antioxidant properties, vitamin E promotes the circulation of blood to the scalp. Vitamin E helps alleviate fatigue and strengthen capillary walls while nourishing the cells.
Pure *vitamin E oil is extremely versatile. A major benefit of *vitamin E oil for the skin is that it helps the healing process. As *vitamin E is absorbed by the epidermis layer of the skin, it can be used for treating sunburn or protecting you from the sun.
Another wonderful benefit of *vitamin E oil is that it can be used to treat scars, acne, and wrinkles because it speeds up cell regeneration. This creates an anti-aging effect, which makes the skin look younger.
*Vitamin E plays a vital role in improving our immune system. It helps in DNA repair and also in improving the body’s metabolic processes.
The intake of *Vitamin E helps to stop the development of nitrosamines in our body. Nitrosamines are carcinogens that are formed in the stomach from nitrates in our diet. This helps in the improvement of our metabolic process. *Vitamin E also helps protect some of the sensitive tissues of our body, like the skin, liver, eyes, breasts, and testes.
*Vitamin E thins the blood which is another significant health benefit. In other words, it prevents the blood platelets from clumping. High levels of *vitamin E reduce the risk of coronary artery disorder or heart disease.
Researches have shown that *Vitamin E helps prevent or delay the onset of heart diseases. Blockages in the coronary arteries can sometimes cause heart attacks and these blockages in the arteries are promoted by the oxidative changes by LDL-cholesterol in the body. *Vitamin E has the vital component of antioxidants, which limit the oxidation LDL-cholesterol and thus help to prevent heart disease.
One of the major reasons for heart attacks is blood clots. Research shows that *Vitamin E helps in the elimination of blood clots, which in turn helps to avoid heart attacks. Studies have shown that people with a high intake of *Vitamin E are less prone to heart-related diseases.