Vitamin E is one of the fat-soluble substances that supports the work of the entire body. It is called the vitamin of youth and fertility because it positively affects the condition of the skin, inhibiting the aging process, as well as supports the functioning of the reproductive system and cares for the proper course of pregnancy. Vitamin E also ensures proper muscle metabolism and plays many other important roles in the body.
Vitamin E - what is it?
Vitamin E is a group of organic chemical compounds known as tocopherols. Naturally, there are different forms of vitamin E, so we can distinguish alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherol and alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocotrienol. These forms have different levels of activity, but alpha-tocopherol is considered to be the most biologically active.
Vitamin E belongs to fat-soluble substances such as vitamin A, D or K. It is therefore stored in the human body, mainly in adipose tissue and adrenal glands, and not, as in the case of water-soluble vitamins, excreted with sweat and urine.
Sources of vitamin E in food
Vitamin E is found in a variety of foods. Where is the most of it? A good source of micronutrient are products such as:
- vegetable oils - the richness of vitamin E is found primarily in sunflower oil and wheat germ oil,
- germ of cereal seeds,
- sunflower seeds,
- pumpkin seeds,
Vitamin E - properties
Vitamin E has many different functions in the body. First of all, it is a powerful antioxidant that, due to its antioxidant properties, can protect the body from oxidative stress, destroying free radicals and thus slowing down the aging process.
Additionally, the compound can protect red blood cells from breaking down and promote oxygen transport in the body, as well as strengthening the walls in blood vessels and protecting them from breakdown. It also participates in the transmission of nerve signals throughout the body.
The micronutrient is also called a fertility vitamin, because it is necessary for the proper functioning of the reproductive organs. It participates in spermatogenesis, supports ovulation, and can also affect the proper development of the fetus and participates in the formation of vision. In combination with folic acid, it can prevent the development of birth defects of the fetus and damage to the nervous system. It also cares for the correct birth weight of the baby.
Due to the delay of the aging process of the skin, vitamin E is also referred to as the vitamin of youth. The micro-ingredient can nourish, moisturize and regenerate the skin, as well as visibly improve its condition. It is also a natural UV filter, which makes this vitamin used not only in anti-wrinkle cosmetics, but also in sunscreen.
As if that wasn't enough, vitamin E can support and protect eyesight, ensures its efficiency, and also cares for visual acuity. It can also support the proper efficiency of muscles and their work, which is why it is important in the life of every athlete.
The need for vitamin E
The daily requirement for vitamin E, as in the case of other vitamins, depends on gender, age and physiological state.
Among women, the daily supply of the micronutrient, according to the Nutrition Standards at the level of sufficient intake, should be 8 mg, while among men - 10 mg. Among children, the need is from 4 to 10 mg / day, while in the case of pregnant women - 10 mg. At the time of feeding, it is recommended to take 11 mg of alpha-tocopherol every day.
The demand is also increasing among people who have malabsorption or micronutrient deficiency.
Symptoms and effects of vitamin E deficiency
Vitamin E deficiencies occur mainly among people with fat malabsorption, celiac disease or cystic fibrosis. They can also happen among children born prematurely.
The main possible symptoms and effects of vitamin E deficiency are:
- hair loss,
- tiredness and irritability,
- premature aging,
- increased susceptibility to infections,
- neurological disorders,
- muscle dysfunction and muscle weakness,
- deterioration of vision,
Micronutrient deficiency also reduces the secretion of gonadotropic hormone, which may cause abnormalities in the structure of male sperm. In turn, among women, insufficient supply of vitamin E may contribute to premature rupture of fetal membranes and premature birth, and in extreme cases to miscarriage and death of the fetus.
Excess vitamin E in the body
Vitamin E overdose is extremely rare. It is especially difficult if the micronutrient is supplied to the body only with food.
An oversupply of alpha-tocopherol is possible in case of improper intake of dietary supplements and can lead to symptoms such as:
- intestinal disorders,
- double vision,
Vitamin E supplementation
Taking vitamin E in the form of a dietary supplement should be considered especially by women in the third trimester of pregnancy, because it is an extremely important micronutrient for the proper development of the fetus.
In addition, it is worth introducing preparations containing alpha-tocopherol to their diet by men struggling with infertility, as well as women complaining of painful menstruation.
Dietary supplements with vitamin E can also help people exposed to deficiencies of this ingredient, i.a. with celiac disease, cystic fibrosis or digestive system diseases.
Since vitamin E is classified as a fat-soluble vitamin, to increase its absorption and bioavailability, it is recommended to take it along with high-fat foods.