The so-called tocotrienols also have an important function to maintain a good health. Vitamin E is one of the fat-soluble vitamins and is essential for the body, that is, vital.
The minimum daily requirement is 4 mg/dl. However, many authors postulate that a daily intake of 20 to 35 mg/dl is required for vitamin E to really fulfill its protective function.
The vitamin is not toxic even in high doses, so doses of up to 270 mg/dl are sometimes recommended. A high level of vitamin is found in foods such as wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, red palm oil, and olive oil.
Is also relatively stable to heating. However, the lower the temperature and the shorter the heating process, the more vitamin is retained.
What is vitamin E?
Vitamin E is fat-soluble, which means it can penetrate the fat cells of our tissue. In addition, it neutralizes toxic oxidants and protects the membranes sensitive to oxidation.
The vitamin is known as an antioxidant and helps prevent an age-related increase in the oxidative damage of our body. Vitamin E is not, as many believe, a single vitamin, but rather a group of fat-soluble substances with an antioxidant effect.
The antioxidants contained in the vitamin have the property of eliminating free radicals in our body and, therefore, detoxifies it naturally. Free radicals have been linked to a variety of diseases and health problems.
It is even more than an antioxidant. For example, recent research shows that gamma-tocopherol can block the activity of an enzyme that is involved in the production of cellular inflammatory mediators that can lead to many diseases.
By the way: an adult’s need is already covered with, for example, a handful of hazelnuts or a tablespoon of wheat germ oil.
Vitamin E is considered a potent antioxidant, which has the task of protecting the body’s cells from free radicals. Free radicals occur in numerous metabolic processes in the body.
Environmental factors such as tobacco, ozone pollution, UVA radiation, or stress promote the formation of molecules. Radicals lack an electron in their chemical structure and to obtain this lost electron, they attack the cell walls.
The attacks cause free radicals to damage the cell walls and cause cell loss. Damaged or destroyed body cells can no longer perform their tasks, which leads to notable signs of aging. Numerous diseases are also linked to free radicals.
As an antioxidant, it can not only make dangerous molecules harmless but also serves to repair damaged cells and supports the formation of new cells.
It also has an anti-inflammatory effect and, therefore, is also used for the adjuvant treatment of rheumatic diseases.
Wounds and superficial wounds can heal faster with the vitamin. In addition to the cells, the vitamin also protects the blood vessels and ensures that the arterial walls remain elastic and free of deposits.
In particular, vitamin E prevents LDL cholesterol from depositing in arterial walls. It also serves to prevent thrombosis, stroke or heart attack . Tocopherol is also the vitamin for beautiful hair, as it accelerates its growth and strengthens it from the inside out.
Estimates an adequate supply of the vitamin
The need depends on both gender and age. For example, babies up to four months need 3 mg, children up to 10 years between 6 and 12 mg, while an adult man needs about 15 mg. Breastfeeding mothers even need 17 mg of the fat-soluble vitamin.
Vitamin E deficiency and its consequences
With a pronounced vitamin E deficiency , anemia and nervous and muscular disorders occur. Symptoms such as indigestion, difficulty concentrating and increased susceptibility to infection can also be caused by lack of vitamins.
A deficiency is extremely rare, but it can occur especially in premature babies.
Other symptoms of deficiency are associated with digestive tract disorders. These include inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or inflammation of the pancreas.
Gluten intolerance also contributes to intestinal inflammation, which makes it difficult for the body to absorb the vitamin. A fat-free diet can lead to a lack of vitamin E since some fat is required for the absorption of the intestine.
The symptoms of a deficiency begin largely unspecifically and are rarely recognized, as such: fatigue, exhaustion, lack of concentration, and indigestion are possible symptoms.
As the process progresses, the skin cracks and wound healing processes are markedly restricted. Muscles and nerves recede, and circulatory disorders can also occur.
Vitamin E is produced exclusively by plants
The fat-soluble vitamin is produced exclusively by plants. Actually, it is also found in animal foods, but the vitamin content here is significantly lower because animals absorb the vitamin through the food chain.
If you want to increase your vitamin E intake, you should pay attention to a balanced and plant-based diet .
These foods are rich suppliers:
- Vegetable oils such as wheat germ oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and rapeseed oil
- Vegetables such as kale, white cabbage, tomatoes, salsify and peppers
- Fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, currants, and mango
- Cereal products like soy and rye
- Grains and nuts such as hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, and flax seeds
Areas of application of the vitamin
Vitamin E can be used to treat and prevent various ailments. For example, there are people who use supplements as a support supplement for diabetes or to prevent cancer.
A particularly popular area of application is skincare since fights free radicals and can prevent premature skin aging.
Side effects and intolerance
Since most people are not affected by a deficiency, it is generally sufficient to follow a balanced diet. Vitamin E-enriched skincare products are also very popular.
If there is no skin intolerance, it is generally possible to apply a vitamin preparation to the skin without hesitation and without fear of overdosing. However, it is recommended to perform a skin compatibility test before applying the product in a large area. Side effects and intolerance can occur when taken orally.
Vitamin E generally has no side effects if the recommended daily dose is not exceeded. However, if overdosed, serious side effects may occur. It could even increase the likelihood of having a stroke. In normal amounts, the vitamin may decrease the chance of having one.
High doses can also cause nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fatigue, weakness, headache, blurred vision, rash, bruising, and bleeding.
Recent studies show that vitamin E can help activate and support memory processes. It could also be important to protect the tissue from the destructive effects of oxidants.
It is a component of many skin care products and has a moisturizing effect. The benefits of the vitamin are mainly cosmetic. There are only a limited number of scientifically proven studies on medical efficacy.
Before supplementing with the vitamin, you should consult a doctor, an alternative professional or an experienced expert.
In summary, its two biggest benefits could be its antioxidant effects in the body, by protecting the cells from oxidative stress and free radicals, and its powerful moisturizing effect, since it moisturizes dry skin well, which can reduce the itching.
Other benefits of vitamin E
1. Moisturizer for delicate skin
The vitamin is contained in many skincare products that are said to have a moisturizing effect. For example, in the form of oil can be used as a moisturizer to prevent or treat dry and flaky skin.
2. Wound healing
Some studies suggest that the vitamin may promote wound healing.
3. Skin Cancer Prevention
In a 2013 study, mice received a vitamin E supplement. These mice developed less skin cancer compared to the mice that did not receive the vitamin.
Similar studies have also been carried out in humans. However, effectiveness could not be confirmed.
4. Reduction of itchy skin
Due to its moisturizing effect, the vitamin can help reduce itching and relieve eczema. However, it cannot prevent allergic reactions, as well as skin infections or other problems that can cause itching.
Since it moisturizes the skin, it can provide temporary relief from itchy dry skin. Using a skin-friendly oil can offer moisturizing benefits.
Vitamin E can relieve dryness, itching, and peeling of the skin associated with eczema. One study found that taking supplements could significantly improve eczema symptoms.
According to one study, it is said that vitamin E reduces symptoms such as psoriasis. The reason for this could be its moisturizing properties. However, the vitamin was no more effective than traditional treatments.
For people who depend on natural treatment methods, vitamin-enriched supplements may be a good option.
7. Prevent or minimize scars
The assumption that the vitamin has a positive effect on the removal of scars when applied to the skin cannot be confirmed scientifically.
According to some popular knowledge, the scar tissue should become softer and, with regular use, the scars should even disappear. However, this cannot be clearly confirmed by the investigation.
In a 1999 study, allergic reactions were found in one-third of the participants. Again, the moisturizing effect could be the reason why many people have seen positive results in the treatment of scars.
8. Wrinkle prevention or treatment
Wrinkles develop over time and with age. Dry skin is often the reason why wrinkles form. Therefore, good hydration is very important to reduce wrinkles.
Its moisturizing effect can prevent the skin from drying out and possibly help the skin look younger and fresher. Care should also be taken not to expose the skin to direct sunlight for a prolonged period to avoid dehydration.
9. May reduce the risk of sunburn
Studies indicate that vitamin E provides sufficient protection against skin moisture to prevent sunburn. When the sun dries the skin, a skincare product or a vitamin-enriched oil can provide relief.
A sufficient sunscreen can prevent sunburn and effectively protect the skin.
10. Good for nails
It is said that care with supplements has a positive effect on nail health. Dry and cracked fingers and toenails benefit from the moisturizing effect and can regenerate under certain circumstances.
Yellow nails should also shine again. The moisturizing properties of skincare products can prevent dry and cracked cuticles and, therefore, contribute to nail health.
There are eight forms of the vitamin
The vitamin comes in eight different forms, all of which are obtained from plants.
Tocopherols consist of 4 types of vitamin, alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. The characteristics that distinguish them are slight chemical differences in their central structure.
The structure of tocotrienols is practically identical to that of tocopherols, except for the presence of 3 unsaturated bonds (trienor). Alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienols are more permeable to cell membranes due to their unsaturated bonds.
The strongest antioxidant in the group is alpha-tocopherol. This is disconcerting because the plants we normally consume contain much more gamma-tocopherol.
The scientists originally speculated that our body needed high levels of alpha-tocopherol and developed mechanisms to maintain it. Multivitamin supplements almost always contain alpha-tocopherol.
A fat-free diet can lead to a lack of vitamin E, since some fat is required for the absorption of the intestine.
However, it is increasingly clear that all forms of the vitamin are important and perform very different functions. Laboratory tests have shown that gamma and alpha-tocopherol can complement each other in terms of antioxidant protection.
Alpha-tocopherol is more effective in neutralizing oxygen-based free radicals, while gamma-tocopherol works best with nitrogen-based free radicals. Both types of radicals are harmful to our bodies.
Vitamins in the market are either produced artificially or isolated from plants. The synthetically produced vitamin is called DL alpha-tocopherol on the bottle label. D and L are isomers or mirror images of each other.
Only form D is representative of the natural vitamin alpha-tocopherol. There is considerable controversy over whether the form of L interferes with the natural form of D in the body. Some researchers even believe it can be toxic.
The natural vitamin is usually labeled with D-alpha-tocopherol , but almost always contains the 4 tocopherols.
Usually, the bottle label only mentions D-alpha-tocopherol due to the cost the manufacturer would spend to verify the presence and quantity of the other three. The 4 tocopherols are obtained from soybean oil or wheat germ.
The 4 tocotrienols are usually made from extracts of palm oil or rice bran.