As opposed to earlier beliefs, Vitamin E was later discovered to be a group of fat soluble compounds instead of a single one. It is a water-soluble, anti-oxidant whose discovery dates back to 1922 by Herbert M Evans and K.S Bishop. It consists of 8 members out of which Tocopherols; which is an important lipid soluble compound and Tocotreinols are the essential ones.
In Tocopherols, Alpha Tocopherol is given adherence to because of its abundant as well as beneficial nature. Gamma Tocopherol is the next in terms of importance. It is also one of the most common. Research in the field of the latter compound is limited; however recent studies have revealed the good affects of Tocotreinols in protecting neuron damage and in the reduction of cholesterol levels.
Vitamin E is an essential nutrient, the deficiency of which causes a number of anomalies. Vitamin E has been found to be most effective when taken with or after meals rather than on an empty stomach. Also it has been found that natural Vitamin E is much well received by the body rather than the synthetic ones.
Sources of Vitamin E are varied and abundant. The best known so far has been found to be breakfast cereals including whole grains, corn flakes, wheat bran, oatmeal, muesli, raisin bran etc. Other rich sources include nuts, seeds, almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts etc. Seeds like sunflower seeds have also been detected to be a rich source.
Vegetables like tomato and tomato products, fresh and frozen spinach, sauces like pasta and spaghetti sauce, turnips, carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, broccolis, peppers and asparagus are also natural sources of Vitamin E.
Other good sources include vegetable, canola, wheat germ, soy bean and sunflower oils, fruits like mango, kiwi, apricots and papaya. Poultry and fish also contain some amount of this vitamin. Vitamin E has been found to be very beneficial for the skin as well as in preventing a number of ailments.
The main benefit of Vitamin E is that it is an anti-oxidant which helps the essential nutrients from getting damaged through oxidation. It protects the cells in the lungs from getting injured by the constant contact with oxygen
It also protects the red and white blood cells from getting damaged which in turn helps prevent anemia as well as a few types of cancer. Because of its anti-oxidizing property, the body’s immune system is improved to a great extent. It also prevents the loss of other essential Vitamins like C and A from the body.
Blood pressure and cholesterol
Vitamin E might also be responsible for controlling blood pressure levels when used in slow but gradually increasing dosage. It also helps in maintaining good cardiovascular health; maintain the good cholesterol levels in the body thereby preventing many heart diseases. Although, the studies are preliminary but the effects have been vouched by many.
Respiratory diseases and Asthma
It has been indicated in preliminary research that natural forms of Vitamin E sources can also help in lowering the effects of asthma. This has mainly been attributed to the fact that it is a powerful anti-oxidant. However, the positive effects are only observed when taken in the natural form which contains alpha-tocopherol and not in the supplementary forms.
Vitamin E has also been found to be helpful in preventing respiratory diseases, especially in the elderly. Since it gives us a better immunity and also because it is an anti-oxidant, vitamin E has the ability to keep respiratory diseases at bay.
Skin, hair and nails
Vitamin E is one of the best possible nutrients for maintaining healthy and beautiful skin, nails and hair. It is known to decrease the ageing signs and effects when applied topically as well as when ingested orally. The cosmetic industry mints a lot of money by putting labels of Vitamin E content on creams, lotions and hair potions.
It helps in reducing the signs of wrinkles and tightens the skin making it appear young and healthy.Vitamin E is also effective in reversing the effects of sunburn. It has also been known for its use as a skin care product for treatment of scars and rashes.
Because of its anti-oxidizing properties, Vitamin E also helps in preventing skin cancer to an extent. Hair loss can also be prevented with the help of Vitamin E. Although topical usage helps, it is best to use the natural means of getting it inside your body.
The reproductive system
Vitamin E is considered an important nutrient to maintain the proper functioning of the reproductive system. It helps in building and protecting the muscles, tissues and other parts of the reproductive system. Similar to the requirement of other vitamins and nutrients, the body also requires Vitamin E for proper reproductive health.
Preliminary research has shown that Vitamin E helps in reducing the effects of arthritis and in keeping rheumatoid arthritis at bay. It also helps to reduce the pain and inflammation in the joints caused by arthritis.Apart from the above, Vitamin E contributes towards preventing many other ailments and also improves the general health of the body.
Some of the other diseases and ailments that Vitamin E helps in preventing or curing are hepatitis, restless leg syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, pre-menstrual syndrome, heavy bleeding during periods, menopause etc. Research in the field of this vitamin shows promising potentials.
Although there have not been much serious deficiency effects found due to the lack of Vitamin E, but it might still lead to some problems in extreme cases. It might range from anemia, cataract, and abnormalities in the muscle or liver.
Vitamin E is very important for the reproductory function and might cause fertility problems if not supplied in the required amounts to the body however the overdose of Vitamin E might cause serious problems during pregnancy and childbirth.
Deficiency can also lead to slow growth, muscle weakness and a lot of other problems in children. Overdose of Vitamin E might cause some problems like nausea, headache, dizziness, weakness, gas, abdominal pain and diarrhea etc., however this can only be seen in cases of overdose of artificial Vitamin E and not likely from the natural sources.