Vitamin E works to dissolve in fats. The vitamin can be offered as a supplement and also it can be found in foods. Its chemical composition is a make of 8 fat-soluble compounds. Vitamin E chemical formula is C29H50 O2.
Vitamin E Foods
Sources of Vitamin E are mainly soluble fats and oils. They are in various foods including vegetable oils, cereals, meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. Also, they are found in plant-based oils like wheat germ oil, nuts. Other sources include:
- Sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil
- Sunflower seeds
- Peanuts, peanut butter
- Beet greens, collard greens, spinach
- Red bell pepper
Vitamin E Functions
As a vitamin, it provides its functions mostly for biological purposes. These include the main function as a fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E collects all loose electrons ‘free radicals’ that can damage cells. Free radicals are a major cause of cancer. Thus, they need to be taken care of as soon as they are released. The antidioxant characteristic makes it possible to be an anti-inflammatory, promote good eyesight and lower the chances of cancer.
Scavenging the loose electrons also protects the cell membrane from reaction with the free radicals.
Additionally, it enhances immune function and prevents clots from forming in the heart arteries. Although not scientifically proven, study results have the promise of using high dose vitamin E to prevent chronic diseases.
Vitamin E Deficiency
Although it is rare in humans, the occurrence is a result of abnormalities in dietary fat absorption. Also, it can be as a result of diets that are low in vitamin E. Its deficiency can result in nerve problems. Premature infants of very low birth weight might be deficient in vitamin E. Supplementation of vitamin E to the infants reduces the chances of retina complications.
However, this might increases the risk of infections. Additionally, people with fat- malabsorption disorders are more likely to be deficient than people without. This happens due to the reason that the digestive tract requires fat to absorb vitamin E.
Poor absorption of dietary fat might result in Abetalipoproteinemia. The disease is rare but inherited.
Ataxia and vitamin E deficiency(AVED) is a rare inherited disorder. In this case, the liver’s alpha-tocopherol transfer protein is absent or defective. These people tend to develop nerve damage and they still lose the ability to walk. This is treatable when you take large doses of supplemental vitamin E.
Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin E Deficiency
- Peripheral neuropathy- are conditions that result when nerves that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord from and to the rest of the body are damaged or diseased.
- Ataxia- lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements that can include gait abnormality, speech changes, and abnormalities in eye movements. These mainly affect the nerves.
- Skeletal myopathy- It refers to a skeletal muscle disorder. Abnormalities of muscle cell structure and metabolism lead to various patterns of weakness and dysfunction.
- Retinopathy- generally refers to any damage to the retina of the eyes. These can also cause vision impairment. Under this topic, it refers to retinal vascular disease.
- Impairment of the immune response- this means that the body does not work properly and can not effectively protect someone.
- Diarrhea for people with Crohn’s disease- inability to secrete bile from the liver into the digestive tract.
Vitamin E Daily Requirements
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
|1-3 years||6 mg/day (9 IU)|
|4-8 years||7 mg/day (10.4 IU)|
|9-13 years||11 mg/day (16.4 IU)|
|14 years and up||15 mg/day (22.4 IU)|
|Pregnant||15 mg/day (22.4 IU)|
|Breastfeeding||19 mg/day (28.5 IU)|
|14 years and up||15 mg/day (22.4 IU)|
Vitamin E Health Benefits
Vitamin E Deficiency
The nutritional value of vitamin E is necessary to prevent and to reverse the deficiency.
Coronary Heart Disease
Basing our argument on the fact that Vitamin E helps in preventing clot formation in the arteries this might be one disease that it can prevent. According to other studies, the vitamin inhibits oxidation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This tends to prevent atherosclerosis.
Studies are written that vitamin E could prevent or delay coronary heart disease. However, a study done by Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation differs a little. HOPE studies show that the intake of vitamin E whether in excess or not, does not affect major cardiovascular events, Also, the same for myocardial infarction, stroke, or cardiovascular mortality.
Instead, they classified the intake of vitamin E to be associated with an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke. Additionally, clinical trials have not proven whether vitamin E supplements prevent cardiovascular diseases.
With the antioxidant effect, vitamin E protects the cell membrane from damage by the free radicals. In case the reaction happens continuously, it might contribute to cancer development. Also, the vitamin might block the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in the stomach. The carcinogenic nitrosamines are formed from nitrites in foods.
Some studies have already proven Vitamin E to protect against developing prostate cancer. Recently, the American Cancer Society held an epidemiologic study examining the association of Vitamin C and Vitamin E supplements and bladder cancer mortality. Between 1982 and 1998, almost one million adults took supplemental vitamin E for 10 years.
They had a reduced risk of death from bladder cancer. Up to date evidence is insufficient to support taking vitamin E to prevent cancer.
For elderly people, age-related macular degeneration(AMD) and cataracts are the most common issues for vision loss. These results from oxidative stress, where nutrients of vitamin E come in. The nutrients have antioxidant functions that could be used to prevent or treat these functions.
Considering that the brain has a high oxygen consumption rate and fatty acids in the neuronal cell membranes.
Some researchers say that free-radical ions might damage the neurons over time developing cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.
Studies have proven that vitamin E food or supplement consumption has resulted in less cognitive decline over 3 years. More research is needed to identify the role of vitamin E, if any, in the management of cognitive impairment.
Menstrual Cramps ( Dysmenorrhea)
It is suggested that when one gets to take the vitamin in foods or supplementary before bleeding. It also reduces menstrual blood loss. In other instances, combining vitamin E with fish oil even relief pain more than taking the vitamin alone.
It is simply the scarring or hardening of blood vessels in the kidney. Intake helps the kidney function in children.
Intracranial hemorrhage- it is bleeding within the skull and is associated with infants. Vitamin E intake is said to be effective.
Nerve damage in the hands and feet caused by cancer drug treatment.
Taking vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) before and after treatment with the cancer drug cisplatin might reduce the risk of nerve damage. But intake before and during treatment with the cancer drug oxaliplatin doesn’t seem to help.
Vitamin E Side Effects
Consuming vitamins in food has been proven to cause no effects. In animals, a high intake of alpha-tocopherol supplements can cause hemorrhage. Additionally, it can prevent blood coagulation in animals. According to Vitro data, high doses inhibit platelet aggregation.
If one is diabetic or heart disease patient large doses of vitamin E might be harmful. Researchers say that it might increase the chances of death or other side effects. Continuous excessive nutrients intake is linked to hemorrhagic stroke. This is a serious stroke condition in which it is bleeding into the brain.
High doses can also cause nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fatigue, weakness, headache, blurred vision, rash, bruising and bleeding. It might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using the vitamin at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
To a patient suffering from vitamin K deficiency, it is advisory not to take the vitamin K nutrients. This is because vitamin E will just worsen the clotting condition. Continuous excessive use of its supplements(at around 400 IU) may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Vitamin E Skin Oil
Vitamin E oil is derived from Vitamin E. It is either applied directly to the skin or added to lotions, creams, and gels. The oil is an ingredient to many skincare products.
Vitamin E Skin Oil Benefits
Moisturing skin- the nutrient is part of the content to many moisturizers and it is used as a moisturizer to prevent or treat dry(flaking) skin.
Wound Healing- little research has been done on this subject. Some suggest it is necessary.
Skin cancer prevention- according to a 2013 study, mice were given supplements containing vitamin E were less likely to develop skin cancer. However human studies have not found any skin cancer prevention benefits associated with the vitamin.
Reducing skin itching- is a temporary relief from itching as it is a moisturizer. Keeping moist skin helps prevent dry skin and prevent symptoms such as itching.
Eczema- its supplements have proven to produce improvements in eczema symptoms.
Psoriasis- at least one study has proven to reduce psoriasis symptoms with no serious side effects. the nutrient is good for mild affected people.
Preventing or treating fine lines and wrinkles- among other characteristics of dry skins, wrinkles are part of it. Moisturizing the skin with oil may help the skin look more youthful.
Sunburn prevention- some researchers have included the vitamin as a recommendation for the formation of sunburns. This is because it maintains the skin moist thus preventing dry itchy skin.
Promoting nail health- it has been proven to prevent yellow nail syndrome which causes peeling, cracked, and yellow nails.
Vitamin E Skin Oil Side Effects
One of the known risks associated with vitamin E is an allergic reaction. People with skin allergic reactions should avoid vitamin E. Rather than a patch test on a small area of skin first.