Vitamin E

Beneficial for our skin and cell protection

What do vitamin E levels depend on? Who is more likely to be affected by a vitamin E deficiency? What are the consequences of vitamin E deficiency? Symptoms of a vitamin E deficiency Where can vitamin E be found? What effects or side effects does vitamin E have on you? How much vitamin E does your body need? Sources

Vitamin E captures free radicals and in doing so, protects the cells. However, it also helps with cell renewal and is therefore of significant importance to the whole body. It is primarily known for its skin-rejuvenating effect and is used in numerous creams and other care products.

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What do vitamin E levels depend on?

Your nutrition plays a crucial role in the sufficient supply of this vital vitamin. As a fat-soluble nutrient, vitamin E depends on the availability of sufficient amounts of fatty acids. Otherwise, it cannot be absorbed from the human body.

Chronic or acute intestinal diseases may largely hinder the absorption of vitamin E, as it is mainly reabsorbed in the small intestine.

Who is more likely to be affected by a vitamin E deficiency?

Healthy individuals are most frequently affected by a vitamin E deficiency if they are under immense physical and mental stress. Hard physical labor, excessive sports, little sleep, or mental stress can strain our bodies. In such cases, cell functions and regeneration require more vitamin E.

Likewise, excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco can lead to a vitamin E deficiency. Alcohol and nicotine can attack cells, can lead to more plaque deposits in the arteries, and destroy tissue.

Since vitamin E is significantly involved in the protection and regeneration of cells by attaching to free radicals, the requirements of the nutrient are elevated by regular or excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco. However, this does not mean that these habits should simply be compensated with an increased dose of vitamin E. Alcohol can damage the intestine and the liver, aggravating the absorption and metabolization of this nutrient.

In addition, there are other special risk groups such as premature babies. The diet of premature babies contains large amounts of unsaturated fatty acids that prevent the absorption of vitamin E. This causes a deficiency to appear faster. Pregnant women and breastfeeding women also suffer from a vitamin E deficiency more frequently. Growth and regeneration as well as the supply, stress, and sleep deprivation – all demand an elevated vitamin E supply.

Vitamin E deficiency can also be caused by illness, and chronic illnesses affecting the pancreas and the intestine may impair the absorption of the vitamin and cause a vitamin E deficiency. Furthermore, individuals with the neurodegenerative disease known as Familial Isolated Vitamin E Deficiency suffer from a dysfunctional conversion of vitamin E in their livers. In this case, the essential active substance does not reach the blood or the cells, and resulting in the deficiency.

What are the consequences of vitamin E deficiency?

A vitamin E deficiency is known as hypovitaminosis. In a medical sense, this can occur if the concentration of alpha-tocopherol (a form of vitamin E) is lower than 5.12 mg per liter of blood. Due to the reserves that are mainly stored in the liver and fatty tissue, a deficiency is not immediately noticeable.

In adulthood, several years might pass before the first serious symptoms appear. The diagnosis is often difficult.

Since vitamin E is involved in numerous processes in the body, the deficiency symptoms also vary greatly. These affect the skin, nervous system and vision, fertility, and the digestive tract. Hypovitaminosis also leads to an increased susceptibility to inflammation and other illnesses.

Symptoms of a vitamin E deficiency

  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Poor concentration, impaired memory, and slower thinking processes
  • Premature skin aging, severe wrinkling, dry and cracking skin
  • Disrupted wound healing
  • Problems in the digestive tract such as chronic diarrhea or fatty stools
  • Infertility and impotence
  • Shaking, loss of sensation in the limbs, loss of coordination
  • Increased risk of heart attack, some cancers, and Alzheimer's disease
  • Anemia
  • Joint pain and premature wear
  • Irritability, nervousness, and decreasing performance capability

Where can vitamin E be found?

  • Vegetable oils: wheat germ oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, and flaxseed oil are all excellent sources of this vital substance. The substances in these vegetable oils are incidentally also relatively stable when heated. Nevertheless, the oils are best when cold-pressed and enjoyed unheated.
  • Seeds and nuts: peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and hazelnuts are wonderful sources of healthy fats and vitamin E.
  • Cereals and grains: wheat is particularly rich in vitamin E – the same applies for wheat germ and wheat-based oils. Wholegrain products are also good suppliers of vitamin E.
  • Green vegetables: green asparagus, avocados, turnip greens, spinach, mustard greens, parsnips, pumpkin, cabbage, and black salsify contain other valuable substances in addition to a lot of vitamin E, meaning they should be frequent additions to our diets.

What effects or side effects does vitamin E have on you?

What effects does vitamin E have on you?

Vitamin E has a stimulating and protective effect. This applies for the skin and hair, as well as for all other cells. It can be applied both externally and internally:

  • It smoothes and invigorates the skin through an increased deposit of collagen, contributes to faster regeneration, and improves the moisture balance.
  • As an external cream, it can speed up healing and improve the appearance of scars as well as stretch marks.
  • It increases the elasticity of the skin.
  • It ensures shiny hair, faster growth, and a stronger structure.
  • It provides protection from harmful solar radiation.
  • It renders free radicals harmless and is therefore crucial in cellular protection. If it is missing, the tissue changes more quickly.

Vitamin E was formerly also considered a fertility vitamin, as it has a significant role in the regulation of the gonads. Impotence and infertility might therefore result from a vitamin E deficiency.

Vitamin E protects against stress and maintains your stress capacity. It protects muscles and nerve cells, ensures quick impulse conduction, and is therefore one of the cornerstones of our abilities to manage stress.

Coenzyme Q10 is important for the effects of vitamins, primarily in the prevention and therapy of diseases. The substances complement each other and in doing so, are able to fight atherosclerosis more effectively.

What side effects can vitamin E have on you?

Vitamin E only has side effects on you if taken in extremely high doses. This is hardly possible with a balanced diet, but is more likely when one is taking high-dosage vitamin compounds. Possible symptoms include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Headaches and vertigo
  • Prolonged bleeding

How much vitamin E does your body need?

How much vitamin E do women need?

According to recommendations from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a 15 mg daily dose of vitamin E is ideal for women aged 14 years and older. As little as 1 tablespoon of wheat germ oil or 3 ounces of dry roasted almonds could cover this requirement.

How much vitamin E do men need?

With men, the vitamin E requirement is also 15 mg from the age of 14 and up.

How much vitamin E do infants and children need?

Requirements for vitamin E change as quickly as children grow up in their first years of life. The following daily doses are recommended, depending on age:

  • In the first six months: 4 mg per day
  • From 7 to 12 months: 5 mg per day
  • From 1 to 3 years: 6 mg per day
  • From 4 to 8 years: 7 mg per day
  • From 9 to 13 years: 11 mg per day
  • From 14 years and over, the same recommendation as for adults applies: 15 mg per day

How much vitamin E do athletes need?

It is possible that those who do sports may need slightly more vitamin E. In the US, there is no specific recommendation for the daily intake of vitamin E for athletes. If you want to increase vitamin E intake slightly, a few more almonds or an extra spoonful of oil on salad are sufficient. Nutrition authorities in the US provide an upper intake level for vitamin E of 1,000 mg per day.

How much vitamin E do pregnant women and breastfeeding women need?

During pregnancy, the supply of vitamin E stays the same: 15 mg per day. This can change during breastfeeding, whereby a total of 19 mg are required per day.

How much vitamin E do senior citizens need?

For older individuals, there is no higher need for vitamin E according to the NIH; they should also try to consume 15 mg per day.

Sources

  • Manfred Lamprecht: “Antioxidants in Sport Nutrition”, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, p.59, Boca Raton, 2015.
  • https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/ [retrieved: 02/16/17]
  • McBurney MI, Yu EA, Ciappio ED, Bird JK, Eggersdorfer M, Mehta S (2015) Suboptimal Serum α-Tocopherol Concentrations Observed among Younger Adults and Those Depending Exclusively upon Food Sources, NHANES 2003-2006, August 19, 2015.
  • Lawrence J. Machlin: Handbook of vitamins. Dekker, 1991, ISBN 0824783514
  • Bernd Michels: Die Bedeutung des Vitamin E in der Frauenheilkunde: mit 13 Tabellen. Marhold, 1951, DNB 177967986
  • Ruth Porter: Biology of vitamin E. CIBA Pharmaceutical Co., 1983, ISBN 0470718528
  • Elfriede Hebestreit: Experimentelle Arbeiten über das Vitamin E. Thesis, 1938, DNB L350300127
  • J. Marks, The vitamins: their role in medical practice. Springer, 2012, ISBN 9401173230
  • von I. Elmadfa: Vitamin E: Eigenschaften, Wirkungsweise und therapeutische Bedeutung; 43 Tabellen. Wissenschaftl. Verl.ges., 1985, ISBN 3804708161
  • Makoto Mino: Vitamin E: its usefulness in health and in curing diseases. Karger, 1993, ISBN 3805557531 Vitamin E is known for being a fertility hormone.