The body is an amazing “machine” but just like any machine, if you don’t look after it and give it the right fuel, you will have problems. One “fuel” that your body needs is the right amounts of vitamins and minerals. Most people get these from the food they eat or in supplements. They help the body perform to the best of it’s abilities and help to prevent diseases and illness. So with this in mind, I thought I would cover how vitamin E is good for the body, with particular emphasis on the skin.
Origins of Vitamin E
Vitamin E (scientific name is tocopherol) was discovered in 1922. Like many vitamins, it is primarily an antioxidant. As the name suggests, an antioxidant stops cells, tissues and organs of the body from oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress damages a cell and may cause it to die. This could cause a chain reaction of damage in connected cells that eventually impacts on that collection of cells that form tissue or a body organs.
In the case of skin, this could be things like wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation spots or a loss of responsiveness and vitality.
Vitamin E works by mopping up free radicals that would attach themselves to healthy cells. When a vitamin E molecule “mops up” a free radical, it is essentially used up and has no other benefit to the body. However if the body has other vitamins, like vitamin C, vitamin E can be reactivated. So that it can resume the clean up tasks it was set. So vitamin E is considered more versatile than many other antioxidants.
It is also oil soluble, meaning that it can do it’s cleaning up tasks in cell membranes which protect a cell from outside damage.
How Vitamin E Helps The Skin
Vitamin E can help the body when consumed in a food or supplement or when applied topically. Let’s start with the benefits of topical application.
You can get moisturizing creams that have vitamin E or tocopherol added to them. As we discussed above, applying the cream will help neutralize oxidative stress on the surface layer of skin. This could be caused by UV radiation from the Sun or everyday pollution and smog in the environment.
To this extent it may help to reduce age spots (hyper-pigmentation). It may also reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Topical application of a vitamin E cream is a natural moisturizer, allowing skin cells to retain water, This may help the skin look plumper and more youthful.
A topical application won’t be much use for deep set lines and skin that has lost elasticity and firmness. This can only be rectified by helping the deeper skin layers which stored collagen and elastin cells.
You can help the deeper layers of skin by consuming more vitamin E in your diet.
When you do this, the natural antioxidant properties of the vitamin are delivered to collagen and elastin cells. This protects them from damage and will help to keep the skins structural integrity sound.
Foods High In Vitamin E
Nuts and seeds are high in Vitamin E – you should try to eat more walnuts, pine nuts and even peanuts (but as naturally processed as possible, from the husk is best).
You can also get it in Sunflower seeds and olives. Perhaps a better way to get it from these products is through their oils.
Green vegetables like spinach, chard, kale and broccoli are also good.
Sweet potato is also a good source of Vitamin E.
How To Use It
To get the best out of vitamin E, eat these foods or take a supplement and also use a moisturizing cream that has vitamin E or tocopherol in it daily.