Vitamin E – The Anti-Aging Vitamin
Vitamin E has been making headlines in recent years, as its worth as a fighter of aging, cancer and other conditions has been widely studied. It has long been linked to combating wrinkles and protecting the skin, and it is well known as an anti-oxidant vitamin. Vitamin E protects cells from oxidation and neutralizes free radicals in the body. This is a trait shared by many other vitamins, but this vitamin seems to have the unique ability to protect other anti-oxidants in the body.
Vitamin E has shown great promise in preventing degenerative diseases, making it a popular choice with older Americans. Vitamin E, however, is important to young people as well – particularly those men who are seeking to increase their level of overall health and fitness. The ability of vitamin E to maintain healthy levels of red blood cells has led many to believe it has the ability to increase stamina and endurance. In addition, vitamin E is popular with fitness enthusiasts, due to its ability to alleviate joint pain and inflammation.
Nuts, oils and seeds are all great sources. Other sources include grains, spinach, avocado, seafood, beef, apples and celery.
The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) is 30 IU.
Vitamin E consists of eight substances called tocopherols. The most active of these substances are alpha, beta, delta and gamma. There are natural and synthetic forms of all the tocopherols. D-alpha tocopherol is the naturally occurring form, while D,L-alpha tocopherol is the synthetic form. Recent studies indicate that the natural form (the D-alpha form) is the most absorbable and most potent. When buying this vitamin in supplement form, look for D-alpha tocopherol in the list of ingredients to ensure you are getting the natural form. Ideally, you also want to look for supplements that have mixed tocopherols since that is how they exist in food. Most supplements, however, have only alpha-tocopherol because it is the most active form.
The most common dosage is 400 IU, with many supplements providing 800 to 1000 IU doses. Vitamin E supplements should be stored in a cool, dark place. Vitamin E combines well with vitamins A and C, with the B-vitamins, and with calcium, carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Side Effects & Toxicity
Doses of over 1200 IU have been shown to cause diarrhea, and doses as low as 800 IU can cause abdominal pain.
Symptoms of Deficiency
Vitamin E stores very well in the body, and documented cases of deficiency are quite rare. Some signs of possible deficiency are fatigue, low fertility, acne, and gallstones. Deficiencies in pregnant women can lead to miscarriage. Fortunately, vitamin E deficiency is rarely seen.