Although it might not have the same hype as some other vitamins, for instance, D and C, vitamin E certainly is an essential vitamin for our health. It is extra important to get some vitamin E on your plate since it boasts both immune-boosting and antioxidant properties.
Are you concerned that you’re not getting enough vitamin E in your system? Read our article to find out more about why this vitamin is so important for our bodies.
An Introduction to Vitamin E
Vitamin E is one of the four vitamins that are fat-soluble, including vitamin K, D, and A. It exists in 8 chemical forms, but the one that is used by the human body is called alpha-tocopherol. The other forms include beta, delta, and gamma-tocopherol, as well as alpha, beta, delta, and gamma-tocotrienol.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended daily dose of vitamin E increase with age. For adults that are older than 18, the recommended dosage is 15 milligrams per day. Those who are breastfeeding should aim to get 19 milligrams daily.
Vitamin E Sources
Vitamin E can be found in plant-based oils, seeds, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. The richest source of this vitamin is wheat germ.
Some other foods that contain this vitamin are yams, asparagus, sweet potato, avocado, greens (turnip, mustard, collard, beet), dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, cereal grains, cold-pressed vegetable oils including safflower, corn, olive, soybean, canola, and cottonseed, corn-oil margarine, sunflower seeds, mayonnaise, nuts like walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds, eggs, and liver.
To reach the recommended daily dosage of vitamin E, add sliced avocado to your salads and sandwiches. Instead of using butter on your toast, top it with almond or peanut butter. Cut pear or apple slices and dip them in almond butter.
When you’re making smoothies, add wheat germ to them. Wheat germ can also be added to pancakes and muffins. Garnish salads and hot cereal with sunflower seeds or almonds. While cooking quiches, frittatas, soups, and lasagnas, add cooked swiss chard, collards, and spinach.
Benefits of Vitamin E
Below, we will go over some of the benefits that Vitamin E provides.
1. It’s Good for Your Skin
Products created for wound healing and mature-looking skin often use vitamin E as an ingredient. Vitamin E helps protect the skin from environmental stressors by protecting the body against oxidative stress.
There are some studies that have shown that vitamin E might help protect the skin against sunlight damage. However, there isn’t sufficient evidence yet.
2. Might Help with Managing Diabetes
Diabetes is connected to increased oxidative stress in the body, and it is a condition that involves resistance to insulin. There have been several studies around diabetes type 1 and 2 and vitamin E supplementation, and one analysis concludes that vitamin E can be an important strategy for controlling complications from diabetes.
3. Has Antioxidant Properties
Free radicals can damage the body by breaking down and weakening healthy cells, and the dole of vitamin E is to act as an antioxidant and grab and collect those free radicals. The production of free radical cells entirely can be stopped by vitamin E, besides its ability to protect the cells from the damage that free radicals cause.
4. It Helps Your Immune System
Although there isn’t sufficient research in this area, there are studies that provide evidence that vitamin E can help improve our resistance against infections, thus helping our immune system.
According to the aforementioned study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, vitamin E assists in thwarting viral and bacterial hits to the system, and by doing this it plays an important role in helping maintain the immune system vital.
5. Might Help with Eye Disorders
Eye disorders, like cataracts, which become more widespread as we grow older, are greatly influenced by oxidative stress. There have been studies that suggest a potential connection between the lessened chance of the formation of cataracts and vitamin E supplements. However, there isn’t sufficient evidence to provide a final conclusion.
Vitamin E Deficiency
Most people are able to get enough vitamin E through the food they eat. However, there are people who have trouble getting enough vitamin E in their diets, and those are people who have health conditions that make it difficult to absorb fat or those who are on a low-fat diet.
Although vitamin E deficiency is rare, it does happen in some cases. Some common signs of vitamin E deficiency include:
- Ataxia, or reduced control of bodily movements
- Decreased immune function
- Damage to the retina of the eyes that can impair vision, also known as retinopathy
- Damage to the peripheral nerves, typically in the feet or hands, that can cause pain or weakness, also known as peripheral neuropathy
To sum it up, symptoms of serious vitamin E deficiency include unsteady walking, vision problems, abnormal eye movements, loss of muscle mass, and muscle weakness. A deficiency that is long-term can cause kidney and liver problems.
Before taking Vitamin E supplements, make sure you check with your doctor. Vitamin E may increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you’re taking blood thinners like clopidogrel (Plavix), aspirin, or warfarin (Coumadin).
Final Thoughts – Is Vitamin E Important?
Vitamin E is an essential nutrient that has a critical role in our bodies, especially during vulnerable periods of our life, including the elderly, the first few years of life, and during pregnancy.
While research into whether vitamin E can prevent stroke, liver disease, dementia, heart disease, and cancer continue, your safest bet, for the time being, is to improve your diet and get as much of this antioxidant you can into your body.
If you want to learn more facts, stats, and tips about proper diet, make sure to check our Food and Nutrition blog category.