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Vitamin E is one of the lesser recognized essential vitamin compounds but recent research is suggesting that it may deserve a considerably higher profile. Despite being discovered nearly a hundred years ago, research in essential vitamins has focused on more ‘straightforward’ classifications such as the B range, C, and D. Vitamin E has been comparatively understudied, and while long associated with maintaining healthy cosmetic features it may instead have a very important role in far more serious aspects of overall health.
So what is the sensible way of assessing the real benefits of vitamin E? What level of intake ought we be consuming to maintain a healthy supply? What are the sources of this essential vitamin? This article intends to explain and answer these important questions.
What Do We Know About Vitamin E?
There’s no question that vitamin E is essential for maintaining healthy skin and eyes. This was one of the first qualities identified during early synthesis, and the findings have been replicated in more modern/conventional trials over the following decades. There are no identifiable variations between age, gender or race – pretty much every human needs vitamin E for maintaining over the long-term healthy skin and eyes.
To an extent, the straightforward identification of these core properties has undermined the actual research into this vitamin for many years. Yet there is a significant trend in both scientific and nutritional circles that have been arguing for decades that vitamin E plays a far more important role than it has been given credit for.
Most significantly of all, it is believed that vitamin E can play a crucial role in association with the body’s immune system. This is now generally accepted as fact but not fully understood. Clinical trials over many years have demonstrated that it can serve a crucial purpose in counteracting the damaging free radical cells which can lead to a wide range of very serious diseases.
Many Potential Benefits
It must be stressed that research is still ongoing but there are strong indications that vitamin E can help as a preventative to many of the most prevalent degenerative diseases. This is why it has become an increasingly popular supplement which we shall discuss further down this article. So what diseases are believed to be benefited by consuming an appropriate amount of vitamin E?
The antioxidant qualities identified within this vitamin are thought to play a potential role in helping prevent Alzheimer’s disease, a wide variety of cardiovascular issues, cancer (specific varieties still to be identified), diabetes and even cataracts. Considering that typically these diseases tend to materialize in older age, it makes this a key vitamin for adults entering or already in middle age.
One of the considerable qualities that vitamin E has over most other essential compounds is that the body can – to an extent – ‘store’ or retain quantities consumed. There are conflicting opinions on how long this process is good for, and of course, it will vary widely between individuals metabolisms, health, age and a myriad of supplementary factors. However, what is without question is that keeping those levels up to a sensible level is going to do far more good than harm. But what is the sensible dose?
What Is A Healthy Amount Of Vitamin E?
Generally speaking, the body doesn’t need a huge amount of this crucial vitamin for daily use. Estimates vary and once again will differ between individuals, but a mere 4mg/day is considered the bare minimum for an ‘average’ adult. People eating a typical ‘healthy diet containing plenty of leafy greens, nuts, seeds and certain cereal (check the packaging) are likely consuming plenty. More expressive studies would tend to suggest closer to three times this amount – but this varies between ages.
While there is not a commonly accepted upper threshold on when overconsumption of vitamin E is thought to become unhealthy, most experts suggest that upper tolerance levels max out at 1000mg a day. That is a figure only realistically obtainable by taking too many supplements, with side effects potentially including enhanced mortality if taken at such levels over many years. Pregnant women ought to consult with their doctor.
What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin E Supplements?
Supplementary use of vitamin E has been on the rise in recent years and there is absolutely no harm in taking a sensible dose to ensure the body has enough to help support general health. Problems may only arise when taking excessive quantities but again the research is limited in this regard, and we won’t know the results of long-term studies for another few years.
Remember that the body does – to an extent – conserve this vitamin so daily supplements may not really be necessary. There is likely no harm in taking a good booster of vitamin E on alternate days or so, but governmental guidelines suggest that even a daily intake of 540mg or so is unlikely to be harmful. Considering that would be many times the minimum required intake, such levels need only be considered by people undertaking very limited or extremely low-fat diets.
Overall, consider that most multi-vitamin supplements will include a hefty dose of vitamin E already and only those identified with a serious deficiency (again – consult the doctor) really ought to consider dedicated supplements. It is true – and exciting – that this vitamin is finally recieving the interest that it deserves, but as with any vitamin enough is usually plenty.