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Vitamin E, also known as alpha tocopherol, is considered to be the genuine fountain of youth. It works as a powerful free radical catcher, delaying the ageing process, protecting the heart and arteries, increases fertility and stimulates the functioning of the immune system.

Vitamin E is a true fountain of youth for cells, as it protects cell membranes from oxidation and therefore prevents their destruction.

In addition to its antioxidant effect, vitamin E has multiple benefits for the heart, blood, muscles, nerves, and body tissues.

Vitamin E has anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective benefits, as well as promoting fertility. As a result, vitamin E is not only important to patients and couples who want to have children, but it also offers general active protection against the appearance of serious diseases, such as tumours or myocardial infarction.

What is vitamin E?

  • Vitamin E is found in 8 different forms: four tocopherols (α-, β-, γ-, and δ-) and four tocotrienols (α-, β-, γ-, and δ-). Alpha tocopherol is found in greater quantities in blood and tissues.
  • Vitamin E forms part of the cellular membranes and protects them from oxidation.
  • In addition to being the most important antioxidant, it also protects the body from free radicals generated by metabolic processes or environmental factors.
  • Vitamin E strengthens the immune system, protects against harmful fatty deposits in the blood vessels and maintains and repairs muscles, nerves, skin, hair, and mucous membranes.
  • Vitamin E improves circulation and blood flow.
  • Because of its anti-inflammatory effect, vitamin E is essential in combatting rheumatic diseases.
  • Studies have revealed that only fifty percent of the population consumes the necessary dose of vitamin E needed by the body.
  • Given that vitamin E cannot be generated by the body, it must be supplied through the diet.
  • Vitamin E is contained mainly in plants and vegetable oils.

Benefits of vitamin E

The basic function of vitamin E in the human body is its antioxidant effect. Vitamin E captures free radicals that are generated in the metabolism or from the environment, protecting cells from destruction by oxidation.

Another of its benefits is its ability to protect against the formation of blood clots and plaque and fat deposits on the inside of blood vessels. Vitamin E also has anti-inflammatory effects and is involved in the metabolism of nucleic and amino acids.

Vitamin E is recommended for:

  • Cases of immunodeficiency
  • As preventive measure against cardiovascular disease and various types of cancer
  • In pregnancy and lactation
  • Senile dementia
  • For people who smoke
  • To deal with stress
  • In premenstrual syndrome
  • In cases of thromboprophylaxis
  • Fat absorption disorders
  • For people following a diet
  • When using long-term medications, such as contraceptives or antiepileptics

What foods contain vitamin E?

Vitamin E is mainly contained in plants, so food products of vegetable origin are those which have higher levels of vitamin E. We can also find vitamin E in foods of animal origin, but in much lower concentrations.

The main sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils and fats. But seeds, nuts, unprocessed cereals and certain vegetables, such as avocados, contain a lot of vitamin E.

What are the symptoms of a vitamin E deficiency?

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Sterility
  • Lack of vitality
  • Muscle weakness
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Vision problems
  • Fatigue
  • Spots on the skin
  • Inflammation and difficulty in the healing of wounds

Vitamin E: dosage and uses

Around fifty percent of the population does not have their basic daily needs for vitamin E covered. Although health authorities recommend a daily dose of 12 to 14 milligrammes of vitamin E for prevention of the appearance of various diseases, clinical studies advise that the daily dose should be 200 to 800 IU (international units). 100 IU equals 67 milligrammes of vitamin E.

It is important to know that this daily dose is the minimum of vitamin E that can be consumed to prevent acute deficiency symptoms, but this is enough to promote health and vitality. Using dietary supplements, one cannot only satisfy the daily requirements of vitamin E but it can also help keep us healthy.

Who is vitamin E particularly important for?

  • For pregnant and lactating women
  • For athletes
  • For smokers
  • For people with fat absorption disorders
  • For patients in the process of recovery
  • For those who suffer of bile-related or pancreatic diseases
  • For patients with senile dementia
  • For people who have weakened immune systems or who suffer from stress
  • For women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome
  • For people who take medications on an ongoing basis, such as the contraceptive pill
  • Women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome
  • Diabetics

Side effects and interactions of vitamin E

Dietary vitamin E supplements taken in the recommended dosages, have no known side effects. If you are taking other supplements, medications, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should first consult your doctor or nutritionist before taking vitamin E supplements.

Given that vitamin E cannot be produced by the body, it must be supplied through food or supplements.

What the experts think about vitamin E:

1. Vitamin E inhibits cholesterol levels, so therefore can reduce the incidence of heart disease

A clinical study conducted with 40,000 participants revealed that LDL cholesterol is harmless, provided that a sufficient quantity of vitamin E is taken to counteract it. Participants in the study who took vitamin E regularly, experienced a reduction of heart disease of thirty-seven per cent.

2. Vitamin E deficiency during pregnancy may cause asthma in children

The latest studies have found that women who consume too little vitamin E during pregnancy, increasing the risk of their child suffering from asthma in the future.