Vitamin E is a special vitamin due to its antioxidant action. It prevents many disorders like oxidative stress and provides an anti-aging effect for the skin. What are the benefits of this vitamin for the body? How to recognize a vitamin E deficiency? In which foods can you find vitamin E? Find the answer to these questions in this article.
What you need to know about Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble substance that is one of the essential nutrients for the development and health of the body. It brings together eight substances (vitamin E compounds) including:
- 4 tocopherols: alpha-tocopherol, beta-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol;
Among them, the form most useful to the body is alpha-tocopherol . It is particularly recognized for its antioxidant function as well as its actions to fight against oxidative stress and cellular aging. It also promotes the action of vitamins A and C. In everyday life, vitamin E is used as a food preservative . It is usually seen under the names of E306, E307, E308 and E309.
Vitamin E appears as an oily, pale yellow liquid . It is stored in fatty tissue and muscle. The contribution of this element is done especially by the consumption of food (oleaginous) and vegetable oils which contain it in great proportion. Sometimes, it is possible to find it with other names such as tocopherol or factor X (old name).
Vitamin E: an element with multiple benefits
The health and wellness benefits of vitamin E are many and varied.
Vitamin E acts as a natural antioxidant
The antioxidant capacity of vitamin E is one of the properties that make it occupy an indispensable place in the body. It neutralizes excess free radicals and inhibits their adverse effects on the body:
- accelerated aging of cells and especially of the skin;
- aging and deterioration of organs;
- oxidation and then accumulation of bad LDL cholesterol in the blood vessels;
- development of pathologies such as inflammations and cancers…
Reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases
At the level of the cardiovascular system, vitamin E plays various important roles. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory action and its ability to retain membrane lipids, tocopherol helps maintain good blood circulation. It prevents the formation of blood clots and atherosclerotic plaque (lipids) inside the blood vessels.
This vitamin also prevents many cardiovascular problems like atherosclerosis. The latter is often the cause of cardiovascular accidents.
Warning ! it should be noted that the reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases mentioned here is properly induced by the sufficient dietary intake of vitamin E. The use of supplementation, on the other hand, represents a rather dangerous practice, especially in the long term. A large number of recent studies on the subject have attested to the fact that it exposes to a high risk of stroke.
Vitamin E protects against AMD and neurodegenerative diseases
Already widely used in the medical field, vitamin E is now regularly prescribed for the treatment of AMD (age-related macular degeneration) alongside other antioxidants. They slow the progression of the disease. It also prevents certain types of cognitive disorders and neurodegenerative diseases, namely Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, etc.
Maintains healthy skin
Being a constituent of cell membranes, vitamin E ensures the tone and firmness of the skin. In addition, through its antioxidant effect, it fights against skin aging and the appearance of wrinkles. During an injury, vitamin E intervenes by stimulating the healing process. It also limits the appearance of unsightly scars.
Vitamin E deficiency: a rare but very dangerous disease
Although vitamin E is necessary for the body, you should know that the latter is unable to synthesize it itself. To cover one’s daily needs, one must stock up with a balanced diet. Vitamin E deficiency is a fairly exceptional case, especially in adults. The people most at risk are young children and premature babies.
The probable causes of vitamin E deficiency are:
- a disorder within lipid metabolism;
- an assimilation problem: generally associated with a digestive disease;
- a lack of absorption in the liver.
Vitamin E deficiency is manifested by various disorders: muscular and nervous disorders, motor disorders and in children, hemolytic anemia… It also leads to cardiovascular and coronary diseases.
Where can you find vitamin E ?
For a sufficient intake of vitamin E, there are two possibilities: a diet rich in vitamin E and the use of supplements.
Foods rich in vitamin E
Here is a list of foods to eat regularly to replenish vitamin E.
- Oilseeds: almonds, wheat germ, hazelnuts, walnuts.
- Green vegetables: spinach, watercress, asparagus, broccoli, chickpeas.
- Fruits: avocados, peaches, blackberries, kiwis.
- The olives.
- Shellfish, mussels, winkles.
- Fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines.
For your culinary preparations, prefer oil rich in vitamin E such as:
- sunflower oil: its vitamin E concentration is 75 mg/100 g;
- hazelnut oil: its vitamin E concentration is 49 mg/100 g;
- rapeseed oil: its vitamin E concentration is 42 mg/100 g;
- olive oil: its vitamin E concentration is 25 mg/100 g.
Vitamin E supplementation
To ensure a sufficient intake of vitamin E, it is possible to take food supplements. These are presented in various forms on the market: tablets, capsules, capsules and oily solution. Their doses vary between 1.5 IU to 1500 IU. Many multivitamin complexes also contain vitamin E.
What are the precautions for using vitamin E ?
For vitamin E supplementation, it is recommended to respect the dosage as well as any precautions for use related to its administration.
The body’s adequate supply of vitamin E
The ideal daily intake of vitamin E increases with the age and state of health of each individual.
- A newborn baby to 6 months: 4 mg (6 IU) per day.
- A baby aged 7 to 12 months: 5 mg (7.5 IU) per day.
- A child aged 1 to 3 years: 6 mg (9 IU) per day.
- A child aged 4 to 8 years: 7 mg (10.5 IU) per day.
- A child aged 9 to 13 years: 11 mg (16.5 IU) per day.
- From the age of 14 years: 15 mg (22.5 IU) per day.
- Pregnant women: 15 mg (22.5 IU) daily.
- Breastfeeding women: 19 mg (28.5 IU) per day.
Pay attention to excess
If taking vitamin E is part of a treatment for a particular disorder, the recommended dose can be increased by 50 mg or even 62 mg per day. This is the limit dose recommended by the health authorities.
Overdose of vitamin E is harmful to the body. It causes fatigue, emotional disturbances and digestive disorders. It also increases the risk of mortality.
What you need to remember is that vitamin E is an excellent ally for health. Its antioxidant power makes it possible to guard against oxidative stress and multiple disorders linked to it, in particular cellular aging. To ensure a sufficient intake of vitamin E, it will be necessary to follow a balanced diet. For vitamin E supplementation, it is important to respect the dose limits and recommendations for use.