It really should not seem surprising that Vitamin E is a health benefit to us all. It has long been regarded as an essential vitamin for heart health, but there are plenty of other benefits too.
In 1968 the Food and Nutrition Boards of the National Academy of Sciences officially recognized vitamin E as an essential nutrient after decades of research and observation. It was originally discovered in 1922 as an unidentified factor in vegetable oils for reproduction in female rats. One set of research shows that because this compound permitted an animal to have offspring, research groups named it alpha-tocopherol, from the Greek word ‘tocos’ (meaning childbirth) and ‘ferein’ (to bring forth), relating to its essentiality [for rats] to bear young. To indicate the presence of an OH group in the molecule, ‘ol’ was added to the ending.
Vitamin E is an essential, fat soluble nutrient that functions as an antioxidant in the human body. Fat soluble means that to be properly absorbed, it should be consumed with fat. It is essential because the body cannot manufacture its own vitamin E and therefore supplements must provide it.
So, let us move on to the function of this essential vitamin as it has these many benefits that sustain our health.
Consider free radicals – substances in your body that are poisonous and attack your cells – they have been linked to the onset of premature aging, cancer and many degenerative diseases. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cells from free radical attack. In some studies, vitamin E has been shown to prevent infections as it aids the immune system. Finally, vitamin E inhibits the conversion of nitrites in smoked, pickled and cured foods to nitrosamines in the stomach. Nitrosamines have been known to contribute to some forms of cancer.
Now as you understand better the essentiality of this uber vitamin, take a look at this list of benefits for your hair and skin, alone.
1. Moisture Retention
Some studies show that when used before UV exposure, skin is less red, swollen and dry afterward. As an oil, vitamin E can be used to help skin hydration. Some evidence points to the use of Vitamin E to speed cellular regeneration on the skin, which can help the healing process for scars and acne.
Further research states that Vitamin E appears to enhance the penetration and reabsorption of skin lipids. – The skin has a waterproof seal that keeps moisture in and prevents evaporation and moisture loss. The natural aging process and environmental influences can cause this protective barrier to break down, allowing the skin to lose moisture and become dry. Vitamin E is said to play an important role in that barrier function.
Vitamin E can help protect the skin from common signs of aging due to free radicals, which cause wrinkles, lines and age spots.
In a statement according to one researcher, “supplementation with Vitamin E in 400 milligrams a day has been noted to reduce photodamage, wrinkles and improve skin texture.” Experts are said to consider vitamin E to be the most important antioxidant because it protects cell membranes and prevents damages to enzymes associated with them.
According to one report – a May 2006 article in “Clinical and Experimental Dermatology” studied plasma levels of Vitamin A and Vitamin E in patients with acne. It is stated that compared to a control group without the condition, those with acne had significantly lower levels of both vitamins. Accordingly, the study also found that patients with severe acne had lower levels of these vitamins than patients with milder forms of the disorder, leading the researchers to conclude that low plasma levels of these nutrients played an important role in the development and severity of the condition.
4. Makeup Remover
Makeup products have an affinity to Vitamin E oil and therefore they stick to it, leaving the skin behind. Put a few drops of the oil on a cotton ball and wipe in a firm motion. Most makeup should come off in a single swipe, even mascara and eye makeup.
Vitamin E can act as an anti-inflammatory agent for the skin. Psoriasis is an anti-inflammatory condition that causes dead skin cells to build up in scaly, reddish-pink patches. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research in November 2014 states that people with psoriasis tend to have lower than normal levels of Vitamin E.
Additionally a study published in Nutrition in March 2009 found that a supplement containing Vitamin E, selenium and coenzyme Q10 helped reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. Though it is not clear whether the Vitamin E or one of the other components was responsible for the beneficial effect. Further research is necessary to clarify these findings.
6. Smoothes Hair
It is stated that adding a few drops of Vitamin E oil to a regular shampoo turns into a more powerful anti-tangle solution. This is also said to be experimented by many shampoo manufacturers. Using this in its soluble form also provides Vitamin E to the scalp keeping the skin healthy and well moisturized. This topical treatment can also prevent dandruff.
7. Stimulate Hair Growth
As an immune response, massaging vitamin E into the scalp on a regular basis will help improve the circulation to this area. Taking Vitamin E orally will also provide this benefit. It is stated that supplements tend to provide more benefits for hair than applying the oil directly. Taking supplements regularly will improve the growth of hair.
8. Prevents Premature Greying
Another form of anti-aging effects – Antioxidants are a defense system in our body that helps prevent free-radical damage to cells, which many researchers connect with the aging process. It is said that Vitamin E supplements can slow the aging process, including premature greying. Premature greying of hair is basically caused by oxidation of the tissues. Vitamin E application helps prevent the corrosion of tissues, which in turn stops the premature greying of your hair!
9. Repairs Split Ends
Mix equal parts olive, coconut oil, hemp and jojoba oils to make an oil mixture of about 12 ounces. Ad 2 ounces of Vitamin E and use it as a hot oil treatment or a sealant to cure split ends. Leave the treatment on for an hour three times, weekly.
10. Aids in Regrowth
Aside from being a stimulant to improve hair growth, Vitamin E could hold a key to the treatment factors of hair loss. When rubbing Vitamin E into the scalp, it helps reduce inflammation and repair damage to the follicles. Healthy follicles encourage hair growth.
Want more Vitamin E in your diet but don’t know where to get it – try this:
- Wheat Germ Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Pam Oil
- Green, leafy vegetables such as Spinach, Turnip and Collard
- Avocados and Asparagus
- Broccoli, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato
- Mango, Tomato, Papaya
Most of the research indicates more success in the treatment of skin problems. Keep in mind that these treatments, regardless of benefit, should always be discussed first with your doctor. Some doctors will not recommend an additional dose of Vitamin E outside your dietary intake and therefore you should pay close attention to those sources.
Finally, the recommended daily intake method for Vitamin D is via capsule. This is said to be the most pure form of Vitamin D on the market. If you’re looking for the oil, puncture the capsules to release the oil. You can use a needle or a pin and this will also aid in the application of the oil as you can squirt it directly from the capsule onto the ailing skin or hair.
The amount of Vitamin E required daily depends upon your age. Most Americans are not getting enough of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin E, though a deficiency is very rare in healthy people.
Deficiency is generally categorized within diseases in which fat is not properly digested or absorbed. Examples include Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis and rare genetic diseases such as abetalipoproteinemia and ataxia with vitamin E deficiency.
A deficiency like this can cause nerve and muscle damage that results in a loss of feeling the arms and legs, loss of body movement control, muscle weakness and vision problems.
So, what’s holding you back? Talk to your doctor and pick up a bottle of Vitamin E the next time you’re at the pharmacy. Your skin and hair will thank you.