Vitamin E: properties, health benefits and where it is found

Vitamin E: properties, health benefits and where it is found

Vitamin E is an essential antioxidant for the well-being of the whole body and also for the beauty of skin and hair

Vitamin E, also called tocopherol, is essential for preserving the well-being and health of the whole organism. In fact, it plays an important role in the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system as well as muscles, skin and metabolism. It is also an essential vitamin for the other vitamins (such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin D) to be absorbed correctly in the intestine.

Index

  • Property
  • Functions
    • Benefits for the heart and brain
    • Antioxidant for health, skin and eyes
    • Stronger immune system
  • Where it is found: foods rich in vitamin E
  • Deficiency and supplements

Property

This vitamin is part of the category of fat-soluble vitamins, i.e. those vitamins that need a fat in which to dissolve and that can be accumulated in the body as a supply (as opposed to water-soluble vitamins, such as C and those of group B, which they cannot be stored in our body and therefore must be taken regularly through food).

At the same time, vitamin E is thermolabile and, therefore, its concentration tends to be reduced with heat. The high temperature cooking of foods that contain it makes it completely inactive. The assimilable vitamin E is therefore found in unprocessed or unrefined (fresh) and uncooked foods.

Functions

Among the various activities it carries out within the body, vitamin E:

  • acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, or the waste derived from the process that transforms the food we ingest into energy;
  • contributes to strengthening the immune system;
  • promotes the dilation of blood vessels and thus prevents blood clotting inside them;
  • it allows cells to interact with each other and perform important functions.

Let's see specifically the most relevant functions.

Benefits for the heart and brain

Thanks to its antioxidant capacity, vitamin E prevents the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL) which is therefore deposited with greater difficulty in the arteries. In this way, it protects the entire cardiovascular system, reducing the risk of developing atherosclerotic plaques, heart and circulatory problems as well as stroke and heart attack.

Also in the brain, this vitamin is essential. Its defensive action in fact provides protection to neurons, helping to prevent the incidence of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

Vitamin E also has the advantage of improving and preserving ovarian function, thus increasing female fertility and proving to be a great ally for women's health.

Antioxidant for health, skin and eyes

The antioxidant action of vitamin E is also valuable for defending the body from harmful environmental agents such as pollution, pesticides and other toxins. Furthermore, a good supply of vitamin E through the diet protects the beauty of the skin from the passage of time: taken through the diet or applied locally in the form of cosmetics for the skin, in fact, vitamin E can help increase the elasticity of the skin. dermis as well as preventing wrinkles and stretch marks, also assisting in the treatment of dermatological problems such as dermatitis or trauma damage such as scars.

Stronger immune system

Being an antioxidant that decreases the oxidative stress of the whole body, vitamin E allows the immune system to function at its best and reduce the inflammatory state of the body. When the level of inflammation decreases, the risk of developing certain diseases and contracting bacterial or viral infections also decreases. For this reason, it is always important to refuel with good fats. And the Mediterranean diet is an excellent resource in this sense: extra virgin olive oil, fish, dried fruit and vegetables (better if organic and in season) are excellent sources of this precious vitamin!

Where it is found: foods rich in vitamin E

Foods that are sources of vitamin E are "fatty" foods, but in this case they are good fats, or those lipids that contribute to increasing the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and decreasing the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood .

Foods richest in vitamin E include vegetable oils, grains, meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and wheat germ oil. Specifically we find:

  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Almond oil
  • Hazelnut oil
  • Corn oil
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews)
  • Oil seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Liver
  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli)
  • Spices (paprika, pepper, chilli, cumin)
  • Cod liver oil
  • Cod
  • Egg yolk
  • Olives
  • Dairy product

Deficiency and supplements

As reported by the Reference Intake Levels for the Italian population, the daily requirement of vitamin E in adults is around 12 mg for women and 13 mg for men, quantities that can be easily reached through the adoption of a varied diet and balanced.

If the body becomes deficient in vitamin E (it is rare but can happen, for example, in strict low-calorie diets with very low fat content, or in the presence of certain genetic diseases or even in premature babies), some important symptoms may occur and severe. The deficiency of vitamin E can in fact be highlighted through manifestations such as:

  • neurological and muscle problems (feeling of numbness in the limbs, tingling, fatigue);
  • visual disturbances;
  • very weakened immune system, with an increased susceptibility to infections.

To treat any vitamin E deficiency, supplements are used, which however must necessarily be taken under prescription and medical supervision.

In recent years, vitamin E supplements have become popular for their antioxidant properties, that is, for their ability to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Currently, however, the studies carried out have not yet clarified whether and how these supplements are actually effective. On the other hand, it is good to highlight the effects derived from an overdose of vitamin E (a condition that can only occur through the uncontrolled intake of supplements), which can cause nausea, headache, blood clotting problems and fatigue.

We therefore remind you that supplements and supplements must always be taken under medical supervision, especially in the presence of specific conditions as well as during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Tag: Wellness Natural Remedies Vitamins

Category: Welfare
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