What is Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a vitamin that can be broken down into fat. It is an important vitamin that many organs in the body need to work well. It also helps fight free radicals. Vitamin E that comes from food (RRR-alpha-tocopherol) is not the same as vitamin E that is made in a lab and put in supplements (all-rac-alpha-tocopherol). It is used to treat vitamin E deficiency, which is rare but can happen to people with certain genetic disorders and premature babies who are very small for their age. Vitamin E is also used for a lot of other things, but most of these uses are not backed up by good scientific evidence.
People often think of vitamin E as a single compound, but it is actually a group of eight fat-soluble compounds that work together to fight free radicals. It has many jobs to do in our bodies. It may be best known for the way it protects our cells from damage caused by oxidation by getting rid of harmful molecules called free radicals. It’s also needed for the immune system to work properly and for cells to talk to each other.
1. May lower signs of oxidative stress and make antioxidant defenses stronger.
Oxidative stress is a condition that happens when your body’s antioxidant defenses and the production and accumulation of reactive oxygen species are out of balance (ROS). This can hurt your cells and make you more likely to get sick. Studies have shown that high doses of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant in the body, can reduce signs of oxidative stress and boost antioxidant defenses in some populations.
2. May lower the chances of getting heart disease
If you have high blood pressure and high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood, you may be more likely to get heart disease. Research is hopeful because it shows that vitamin E supplements may help some people reduce these risk factors for heart disease.
3. It May help people with fatty liver disease who don’t drink alcohol (NAFLD)
NAFLD is a group of diseases that cause fat to build up in the liver of people who don’t drink much or at all. Researchers have found that taking vitamin E supplements may help people with NAFLD in some ways.
4. It helps to manage dysmenorrhea
Dysmenorrhea is a condition that causes cramps and pelvic pain that happen often and are very painful. Research shows that women with this condition may feel less pain if they take vitamin E supplements.
5. Could be good for skin health.
6. It May be good for brain health
7. May benefit older adults.
8. It May help the lungs work better.
Vitamin E deficiency is rare in general, but it happens more often in some groups. For example, people with diseases like cystic fibrosis and Crohn’s disease that make it hard for the body to absorb fat are at a higher risk. Also, people with rare diseases that are passed down from their parents, like abetalipoproteinemia, are more likely to have a deficiency. Malnourishment can also cause vitamin E deficiency in people who don’t eat enough, like children in developing countries or people with anorexia nervosa.
Adequate daily intake of vitamin E
Vitamin E deficiency is rare in people who are otherwise healthy because most people get enough vitamin E from the food they eat.
|0–6 months||4 mg|
|7–12 months||5 mg|
|1–3 years||6 mg|
|4–8 years||7 mg|
|9–13 years||11 mg|
|14+ years||15 mg|
|Pregnant individuals||15 mg|
|Lactating individuals||19 mg|
Foods that contain vitamin E
Even though nutritional supplements are sometimes needed, the best way to get the nutrients you need is almost always through food.
- Vegetable oils
- Green leafy vegetables, like spinach
- Fortified cereals
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