What is vitamin e good for?

Written by nicole harms
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What is vitamin e good for?
(Jose Conejo Saenz)

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that many believe has strong healing properties. What many who take vitamin E do not know is that it can be dangerous, in spite of the benefits of taking the supplement. Before taking vitamin E, make sure you know the benefits and potential dangers.

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Identification

Vitamin E is a name given to eight different forms of a fat-soluble vitamin. The eight forms are alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherol, accompanied by alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocotrienol. It is a popular supplement because of its antioxidant properties. Vitamin E can be found in both natural and synthetic forms, so reading labels is important when looking for this vitamin. Natural forms have the letter "d" before them. For instance, they may be labelled "d-delta-tocotrienol." Synthetic forms are identified by the letters "dl."

Significance

The antioxidant properties of vitamin E make it good as a natural healing nutrient. Vitamin E appears to neutralise free radicals in the body. Free radicals are believed to cause damage to the tissues and cells. By neutralising them, vitamin E can help the body function more efficiently. Because they want to benefit from these antioxidant properties, many people take vitamin E as part of their daily supplements in order to help their bodies be as healthy as possible.

Benefits

Besides working as an antioxidant, vitamin E is also believed to help the circulatory system by helping the blood clot more effectively in healthy individuals. However, those on blood thinners may bleed excessively when taking vitamin E. Vitamin E oil can be rubbed on scars and wounds to aid in healing and help scars to fade. Vitamin E also helps the body absorb vitamin K. The vitamin also helps the body produce red blood cells and appears to ease chronic respiratory problems.

Considerations

If you decide to take vitamin E as part of your nutritional supplement plan, make sure you take the correct dosage. Too much vitamin E can be harmful. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin E is just 15 mg to 20 IU per day. With this low amount it is fully possible to get sufficient amounts of vitamin E from food alone. When vitamin E is prescribed for healthy adults it is typically prescribed in 200 to 800 IU doses.

Warning

None of the potential benefits of vitamin E have been proven, so keep this in mind when you take the supplement. Some researchers think that too much vitamin E can be dangerous. Since vitamin E is fat-soluble, it can build up in the liver, which can lead to toxicity when taken in high doses. It appears that occasional supplementation with vitamin E is perfectly safe, but if you are going to take the supplement on a regular basis, talk to your doctor about its safety and the correct dosage for your specific needs.

Expert Insight

You can get vitamin E from the foods that you eat if you do not wish to take a supplement. Vitamin E is found in green leafy vegetables, nuts, and nut butters. The nutrient can also be found in fortified cereals. Vegetable oils contain the most vitamin E. healthy oils like soybean, olive, corn, and sunflower oil are all excellent sources. Whole grain foods also contain vitamin E. Most vitamin E supplements are derived from soybean or other vegetable oils.

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