Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble vitamins. Being fat-soluble means that the body absorbs the vitamin into fats and is stored in the fatty tissues and the liver, where it’s used when required.
Vitamin E exists naturally in certain foods such as
- sunflower oils and seeds
- peanuts and peanut butter
- wheat germ oil
- soybean oil
- beet greens
- collard greens
- Red bell pepper
- It is also added to other foods such as fortified breakfast cereals and margarine.
Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that help fight free radicals linked to cancer and premature ageing. It also prevents oxidative stress and helps keep your skin moisturized. It’s important for the proper functioning of various organs in the human body. Here’s a deeper look into the benefits of vitamin E.
Vitamin E also helps the body use Vitamin K effectively. Vitamin E is also used by cells to interact with each other and carry out important functions.
Here’s a deeper look into the benefits of vitamin E. Of the speculated benefits of vitamin E, its benefits to the skin seem to elicit the most minor debate as there’s more scientific evidence than in other suspected benefits. The vitamin’s antioxidant and moisturizing properties provide several advantages to the skin.
1. Moisturizing Skin
The vitamin’s moisturizing property makes it very beneficial to human skin. The use of vitamin E oil or lotions and creams containing the vitamin prevents your skin from being dry and flaky.
It also helps with itchy skin. Although the vitamin doesn’t prevent or treat skin infections or allergic reactions that lead to itchiness, its moisturizing property helps in reducing itchiness. Applying oil containing the vitamin will give temporal relief from the itchiness.
2. Reduces signs of ageing
Free radicals from the environment, cigarette smoke, and other sources can cause damage to collagen. Collagen is one of the main substances that prevent the skin from sagging and looking old. Vitamin E’s antioxidant properties enable it to fight the effects of unstable molecules on the skin. This prevents visible signs of ageing on the skin. The moisturizing properties of the vitamin also help the skin look radiant and youthful.
3. Alleviates Eczema
Although there’s little research to support the prescription of vitamin E supplements to treat eczema, a study suggested that taking vitamin E supplements helps reduce eczema symptoms like itchiness and abrasions than using a placebo. However, before deciding to use the vitamin to treat eczema, you need to talk to your doctor since too many of the vitamin’s supplements can be dangerous. Further, there’s a need for more research on the effects of the vitamin on eczema.
4. It May be Effective in Managing Psoriasis
While vitamin E alone is not adequate for managing psoriasis, a study suggests that using vitamin E supplements could be helpful in cases of mild psoriasis. The vitamin contains properties that reduce oxidative stress, which is associated with a psoriasis flare-up.
5. Heart Disease
A few studies have shown a positive correlation between the intake of Vitamin E and a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, it should be noted that the available research does not provide conclusive recommendations on said benefits.
6. Treating Vitamin E Deficiency
While vitamin E deficiency is quite rare, it can occur due to fat malabsorption or inadequate intake of the vitamin. The deficiency mostly occurs in people with certain genetic disorders and premature infants with very low weight. The deficiency’s symptoms include neurologic deficits and hemolytic anaemia. It can lead to the development of cystic fibroids, muscle weakness, and spinocerebellar ataxia. In such cases supplements are necessary.
7. Mental Function
Since the beginning of the 20th-century scientists have agreed on the positive effect that vitamin E has on the central nervous system. There has been speculation that taking vitamin E supplements can help patients with Alzheimer’s disease delay the progression of mental degeneration.
8. Age-Related Eye Disorders
In older people, cataracts and Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are common reasons for loss of vision. While some of the reasons for vision loss are unknown, doctors stipulate that increased oxidative stress is one of the factors. Since the vitamin has antioxidant properties, it should improve the condition. However, studies conducted so far provide inconsistent evidence on the effectiveness of the vitamin on macular degeneration.
Vitamin E myths
1. Prevents Scarring
There have been several claims that vitamin E is beneficial in minimizing or preventing scarring; however, this claim lacks evidence. Research conducted suggests that using vitamin E topically can actually lead to an allergic reaction. Vitamin E oils are also likely to worsen the scarring rather than minimize it. Others claim that the vitamin could also cause contact dermatitis.
2. Prevents Skin Cancer
The vitamin contains antioxidant properties that help combat free radicals associated with cancer. Therefore, there have been claims that vitamin E helps prevent skin cancer and other types of cancer. Even though a study on mice suggested that the use of vitamin E supplements reduces the risk of skin cancer even when exposed to significant amounts of UV light, there’s very little evidence supporting this claim on human skin.
Additionally, there have been claims that too much intake of vitamin’s supplements could lead to prostate cancer in healthy men.
3. Prevents Stretch Marks
Although there are claims that the vitamin is helpful in the prevention and reduction of stretch marks, there’s hardly any evidence to prove that this is an effective method of dealing with stretch marks.
Possible Side Effects of Vitamin E
Besides the intake of naturally occurring vitamin E in foods, the vitamin’s supplements and applying it topically can have several side effects on the human body. On people with skin conditions, the vitamin’s topicals can result in skin flare-ups and bad reactions. Taking oral supplements without a doctor’s prescription and guidance can result in an intake of excessive vitamin E, resulting in diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, and headaches.
It also reduces blood clotting, so taking supplements could be dangerous for people already on blood thinners. It also increases bleeding in cases of bruising. If you are on blood thinners please consult your doctor before taking Vitamin E supplements.
Although the vitamin is beneficial to the skin, it’s important to note that you can’t replace the use of sunscreen to protect your skin from sunlight. Since vitamin E can cause skin and GI reactions, it’s advisable to consult with a doctor before using vitamin E supplements and applying it topically. Additionally, the intake of vitamin E supplements should be on the lower side and should follow recommended guidelines.