Vitamin E is actually a group of eight fat-soluble compounds, rather than just one single vitamin. These compounds are called tocotrienols and tocopherols, and are responsible for a number of health benefits in the body – such as supporting healthy hair, skin and eyes and boosting the immune system.
Health benefits of vitamin E
As an antioxidant, vitamin E benefits the body in a number of ways. Antioxidants protect the body against free radicals, molecules that weaken and break down healthy cells. We are exposed to free radicals in the environment every day, through things like smoking, pollution and UV rays from the sun. Vitamin E may help reduce the damage caused by free radicals and slow the aging process of cells, which may contribute towards healthy skin, hair and eyes. A study of participants suffering with hair loss found that supplementing with vitamin E increased the amount of hair in those taking the supplement, vs those taking a placebo.
Immune System Support
Due to its antioxidant action, vitamin E is said to be one of the most effective nutrients known to support the immune system. A vitamin E deficiency has been shown to negatively affect normal functions of the immune system, although this deficiency is rare it is suggested that supplementing with the vitamin has been shown to enhance the immune system and reduce risk of infection.
May ease menstrual cramps
A single study of girls between the ages of 15 and 17 found that supplementing with vitamin E reduced period discomfort and blood loss. In the study, girls were given either 200mg of vitamin E a day or a placebo for four months. Those in the vitamin E group found that the discomfort reduced significantly.
How much vitamin E do we need?
The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin E varies depending on age and need, however it is approximately 15mg for people over the age of 14 and a little more for those that are breastfeeding – the RDA for lactating women is 19mg.
Sources of vitamin E
Vitamin E is present in many foods, such as sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, red peppers and avocado. You could also try taking vitamin E as a supplement, such as our Vitamin E Complex.