The human body needs a wide variety of vitamins and minerals very day to stay fit healthy and strong. Vitamins are molecules that the body needs in order to carry out certain reactions, and because your body can’t create vitamin molecules for itself, you have to get them via food and drink. Different vitamins perform different functions within the body. So what’s so important about vitamin E?
The Functions of Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an important nutrient for fighting toxins, and as an antioxidant it helps to protect cell membranes and keeps premature ageing at bay. It’s particularly good for the health and beauty of your skin. If you are deficient in vitamin E you might experience symptoms such as muscle weakness, palpitations, anaemia or even fertility problems.
Getting Enough Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and, as such, can be stored in the liver by the body. So unlike water-soluble vitamin C, which cannot be stored, you don’t necessarily need to continually replenish your supplies. Nonetheless, it’s still a good idea to get the recommended 3mg of vitamin E a day for women, or 4mg a day for men. The best way to get enough vitamin E is to eat the right foods.
Good Sources of Vitamin E
To make sure you’re getting enough vitamin E in your diet, eat up plenty of broccoli, nuts, soya beans, sprouts, spinach and eggs. Don’t forget though, that vitamin E is destroyed by heat, so try to eat your veg raw or lightly cooked.
Vitamin E and Your Skin
Vitamin E is a favourite of people interested in their health, but it’s also much beloved of the beauty industry. Eating foods rich in vitamin E will help to keep your complexion glowing, smooth and young. Look out for it in face creams and cleansers too.
When to Take a Vitamin E Supplement
Vitamin E is absorbed into the body with fat in the stomach and intestines. Some people have a medical condition that means they can’t absorb fat from food and this can prevent them from absorbing enough vitamin E too. If this is the case, your medical team might recommend a vitamin E supplement. Premature babies are often deficient in vitamin E and are sometimes given a supplement in hospital.
Vitamin E and Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by progressive damage to nerve cells in the brain. We still don’t really know what causes this large scale damage, but it is known that oxidative stress – damage caused by free radicals – is one cause of deterioration of nerve cells in the brain. Some scientists in the USA have looked into whether taking vitamin E, which as an antioxidant is great for destroying free radicals, might be beneficial in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Although early results are encouraging, this link is still far from proven.
Too Much Vitamin E
Other research, also carried out in the USA, links a high intake of vitamin E with earlier deaths in already elderly people. It’s thought that perhaps this is a result of the fact that vitamin E increases the effect of blood-thinning medications. Once again, research in this area is at a very early stage. The best advice is probably just to continue eating a balanced diet, ensuring that you consume the recommended daily allowance of vitamin E from your food.
E is The Key
When it comes to looking and feeling younger for longer, it’s important to get enough vitamin E in your daily diet. So tuck into those fresh, crunchy veggies and enjoy the odd poached egg for breakfast and you’re well on your way to topping up your intake of this important nutrient.