Vitamin E is one of the best known by integration enthusiasts and the general public. After its discovery in 1922, it has been attributed with an antioxidant and anti-aging function that has led thousands of people to consume it in large quantities. But do you know its properties?
The truth is that vitamin E has both defenders and accusers. Although many people appreciate its anti-free radical effects, some experts do not hide their distrust of this compound. If you want to know the reason, keep reading this new guide of “ABC Supplements.”
Here we had listed out the best vitamin e supplements that are present below.
Buyer Guide to Choose the Best Vitamin E Supplements
Vitamin E is one of the most popular antioxidants in the food and supplement industries. This nutrient is highly appreciated by people who want to stop the effects of aging and avoid diseases like atherosclerosis. Paradoxically, a low-fat diet can generate a deficiency of this vitamin.
What Is Vitamin E Exactly?
The term vitamin is a combination of the Latin word vita (life) and the suffix amine (organic compound). These substances, which regulate the body’s hormonal and enzymatic activity, must be obtained through food. Our collection is unable to synthesize them from simpler molecules.
Vitamin E includes eight antioxidant compounds that can be classified into two groups: tocopherols and tocotrienols, each with four “subtypes” (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta counterparts). Alpha-tocopherol is the substance with the highest antioxidant activity for humans, which is why in many texts, it is used as a synonym for vitamin E.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble compound. As a result, it will be necessary to ingest it together with fatty foods that promote its absorption. A diet that is low in healthy fats will cause a decrease in vitamin E levels, damaging the functioning of the nervous system, blood clotting, and immunity.
How Is Vitamin E Assimilated?
The assimilation of vitamin E occurs mainly in the intestine. After digestion, this nutrient is absorbed into the duodenum (an initial portion of the small intestine), and from there it travels to the liver and blood. Approximately 50-80% of the ingested vitamin E is assimilated. The rest will be eliminated in the stool.
The nutrients belonging to the vitamin E group are fat-soluble, which is “fat-soluble.” This nutrient, like vitamins A, D, and K, must be dissolved in lipids to be assimilated by the body. Taking a minimal amount of fat (3 g) will ensure adequate absorption of vitamin E.
What Other Factors Affect My Vitamin E Levels?
Several substances can interact with vitamin E, influencing their absorption positively or negatively. Some compounds can prolong the half-life of alpha-tocopherol in the body. On the other hand, the presence of toxins in the body tends to deplete the reserves of this antioxidant compound.
- Bile Salts: Bile, synthesized by the liver and stored by the gallbladder, is essential for the digestion and absorption of fats. Adequate levels of this substance promote the intake of vitamin E.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is another antioxidant compound that helps to “recycle” the alpha-tocopherol present in the body, allowing vitamin E to perform its functions longer.
- Alcohol: People who abuse alcohol, which has oxidizing properties, have been shown to have low levels of vitamin E, despite consuming the recommended amounts of this vitamin.
- Tobacco: Tobacco is made up of several toxins, which, like alcohol, accelerate the oxidation of body tissues. Vitamin E will try to counteract this harmful effect, consuming itself at a faster rate than usual.
If you want to preserve your alpha-tocopherol reserves, it is convenient that you quit smoking, drinking alcohol, and other similar substances. Increase your intake of vitamin C (for example, by introducing vegetables and fresh fruit into your diet) also to help maintain healthy levels of vitamin E.
What Are the Benefits of Adequate Levels of Vitamin E?
A diet rich in vitamin E will bring you many benefits. The antioxidant effect of alpha-tocopherol protects the cells of the whole body, strengthening the nervous system and the immune system. In the list that you can find below, you can read a series of benefits derived from the consumption of vitamin E:
- Improvement of memory and concentration in the elderly
- Relief of symptoms given by anemia
- Greater energy supply
- Relief from menstrual pain
- Improvement of the appearance of the skin and hair
- Increased male and female fertility
- Heals faster after cataract surgery or for myopia
- Increased endurance and physical strength
- Relief from joint pain related to rheumatoid arthritis
- Eyesight improvement
- Prevention of arteriosclerosis
- Protection from sunburn and photoaging
- Even cases of ataxia and neuronal degeneration related to a serious lack of vitamin E respond favorably to the administration of this compound.
However, the treatment must be supervised by a health professional, as it requires higher doses than those shown here.
Who Should Take a Vitamin E Supplement?
Most experts agree in recommending that vitamin E intake be obtained through healthy eating. However, associating a supplement with the diet can be helpful in some cases, provided it is used according to the manufacturer’s instructions and for a short period of time.
First of all, there are people with some type of medical condition (such as intestinal malabsorption) who need an extra supply of vitamin E. In this case, the doctor is the one who must prescribe a supplement. On the other hand, there are people who follow a very low-fat diet, and this can lead to a shortage.
The benefit of vitamin E supplements has been shown in people with macular degeneration (a degenerative disease that causes impaired vision). Also, people who want a skin with fewer wrinkles and expression lines can take this supplement or better apply it as an oil on the surface.
How Many Types of Vitamin E Are There?
Vitamin E supplements mainly differ from the form of the alpha-tocopherol present in them. Depending on whether the supplement was created entirely from natural sources or synthetic elements for its production, we can distinguish between two different types of product:
- Natural Vitamin E “RRR-α-tocopherol“: This molecule comes from natural sources. Its structure is identical to that of alpha-tocopherol present in food. Therefore, its absorption is high. Depending on your need for vitamin E, this can be more harmful than beneficial. You could supplement it in excess.
- Synthetic Vitamin E “all-Rac-Α-Tocopherol“: This compound is produced in a laboratory. Its structure differs from that of vitamin E present in food. Therefore, its absorption is not so powerful. This makes it much more difficult to consume an excessive amount. This formula is more recommended by experts.
On the other hand, you also need to consider the route of administration of your supplement. The effects mentioned so far correspond to those of food supplements. However, you can also find vitamin E in the form of oil. If used locally, it is possible to treat scars, wrinkles, and imperfections.
There Is a Controversy Regarding Vitamin E Supplements
The popularity of vitamin E supplements has declined in recent years. This refusal of alpha-tocopherol supplements is due, in part, to the publication of numerous articles in which it is concluded that the supplements of this vitamin are not effective or are even harmful to health.
These studies collected several cases of increased mortality in people who supplemented vitamin E (regardless of whether the source of the supplement was natural or synthetic). After reviewing these studies, you can create a list of people to whom vitamin E supplements are contraindicated:
- People with a history of prostate cancer
- People with a history of cerebral infarction
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- Uncontrolled heart or coronary heart disease
- Vitamin K deficiency
- Head or neck cancer
- Persons who must carry out operations in the period immediately following administration
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
If you belong to one of the groups listed above, go to the doctor before taking any supplements. Keep in mind that this increased mortality has appeared in people who have integrated very high doses of alpha-tocopherol (300-500 IU per day). Vitamin E supplements are considered safe at the recommended dose (15 mg).
How Does Vitamin E Deficiency Occur?
While in children, vitamin E deficiency has serious developmental consequences, in adults, this deficiency occurs insidiously. Normal levels of this vitamin are between 5 and 20 mcg/ml (micrograms per milliliter). Below these figures, the following symptoms and signs will appear:
- Mild anemia
- Non-specific neurological deficits: lack of concentration and changes in sensitivity
- Muscle aches
- Visual changes
- Increased all oxidative processes: arteriosclerosis and accelerated aging
- Male and female infertility
- Changes in immunity and defenses against infections
- Changes in the development of the fetus
The most severe signs and symptoms will appear if the vitamin E levels are deficient, as in cases of intestinal malabsorption. In that situation, a dangerous neurological condition known as ataxia may seem, in which a failure in the coordination of muscle movements occurs.