Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin best known for its significant antioxidant properties. It was discovered in green leafy vegetables in 1922 by California researchers Katherine Bishop and Herbert Evans. Probably the most popular use of this essential vitamin is its role in the cosmetic industry relating to skin care. Because Vitamin E plays a direct role in protecting cells from free radicals, it is used as a powerful antioxidant for the skin.Further, Vitamin E and Vitamin E oils have been shown to help with proper skin healing and are used worldwide to treat noticeable scarring. Vitamin E is used worldwide in skin creams and treatments to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin E Benefits
Vitamin E is an essential nutrient, and thus the body needs it to survive. Below is a list of some other benefits of Vitamin E:
• Antioxidant: Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and helps protect cells from free radicals caused by pollution and ultraviolet light. Vitamin E is more effective (as an antioxidant) in its alcohol form as opposed to its acetate form.
• Anti-Aging: Used worldwide as an anti aging supplement, Vitamin E has been shown to significantly decrease the look of lines and wrinkles (as you have heard on countless commercials). Because free radicals are thought to play a large role in skin aging, Vitamin E appears to have an immediate and long term solution for skin aging. Usually used in Vitamin E oil form.
• Skin Disease: Apart from cosmetic uses, Vitamin E can also help treat psoriasis and erythema. Currently Vitamin E is being studied in numerous trials involving skin rashes, diseases, and cancers.
• Stretch Marks: People use Vitamin E oils for the appearance of age spots and stretch marks. Pregnant women who use vitamin E oils or creams throughout their pregnancy (as a topical medication on areas that may get stretch marks) appear to have a higher chance of avoiding stretch marks.
• Other Studies: Although there are many studies ongoing, Vitamin E is showing promise in helping treat or prevent other ailments, diseases and conditions such as: cataracts; low sperm count; Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease; asthma; RLS; arthritis; prostate cancer. More research will be needed to confirm any of the above properties.
Vitamin E and Scarring
It should be mentioned that probably the most popular use of Vitamin E is for the treatment of scar tissue. Many people swear by this scar treatment, claiming their scars virtually disappeared after treatment with Vitamin E. To treat a scar, Vitamin E is applied as a daily regiment, usually in cream or vitamin E oil form. Women who are pregnant regularly use lotion on their stomach, sides and legs to reduce the chances of getting stretch marks. Vitamin E’s efficacy in scar treatment was almost a given fact a few years ago. Researchers warn however that although studies are ongoing, there is still no concrete evidence of Vitamin and its ability to make scars disappear.
Vitamin E Food Sources
Vitamin E can be found in various food sources that are generally plant related. Below is a list of the more popular food sources of Vitamin E.
• Nuts: almonds, pine nuts, brazil nuts, peanuts, hazelnuts.
• Oils: sunflower oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, corn oil, olive oil.
• Turnip greens, tomato paste/puree/sauce, avocado, carrot juice, spinach, dandelion greens
• Fortified cereals, wheat germ
• Peanut butter
• Sardines in oil and blue crab
Vitamin E Deficiency
A deficiency in Vitamin E can be lead to neurological problems including hyporflexia, decreased vibratory sense, muscle weakness and night blindness. Extended deficiencies in Vitamin E can result in limb ataxia (gross lack of coordination) and muscle weakness. Severe deficiencies can lead to further eye problems including eye paralysation and nystagmus. Excessive deficiencies can cause even more severe symptoms such as dementia and the inability to walk.
Vitamin E Overdose
Vitamin E, if taken as a supplement, should be carefully monitored. If your doctor prescribes you Vitamin E, make sure you follow the routine he or she has prescribed. Immediate symptoms of Vitamin E overdose are fatigue, weakness, nausea, headache, flatulence, abdominal pain and blurred vision. Always consult a physician immediately if you feel you may have taken too high of a dose of vitamin E.
There is also a very small chance that you will have an allergic reaction to Vitamin E supplements. If you experience the immediate appearance of a rash, swollen tongue and lips, closing of the throat or difficulty breathing, contact a physician or emergency ward immediately.