1 February 2012
Vitamin E: Not Just Nature’s Time Machine
Posted by Wellness under: Supplements And Vitamins .
Most of us probably know Vitamin E from skin care commercials, thanks to companies that have taken to plugging it as the key to youthful skin. Vitamin E does help prevent some of the signs of aging on your skin, such as age spots and wrinkles. But it does a lot more than make you look young. Vitamin E is well known for helping prevent a wide range of diseases and strengthening the body’s immune system, as well as protecting against sun exposure and other environmental factors.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means it helps undo the wear and tear of natural body processes and exposure to the elements. It protects against certain types of cancer and reduces the risk of heart disease, mostly by helping eliminate the free radicals that cells produce when they oxidize. Studies have shown positive effects against atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque in the arteries, in people who were given regular Vitamin E supplements.
One of its more popular effects is preventing eye damage linked to age and environmental factors. In a separate study, people who had regular doses of Vitamin E were shown to have much lower risk of developing macular degeneration, a condition common in older adults. People over 40 who have a high risk of eye disease are often advised to take Vitamin E supplements.
Besides a higher risk of disease, a lack of Vitamin E can cause muscle weakness and damage, which in turn can lead to poor walking posture. Severe deficiency can interfere with liver and kidney function, and increase the likelihood of premature delivery and miscarriage in pregnant women. Low Vitamin E has also been linked to worsening of Alzheimer’s symptoms, cataracts, high blood pressure, and blood sugar problems.
Doctors initially thought there was no such thing as a Vitamin E overdose, but it’s been shown that it simply has a much higher threshold. Taking too much can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and heart palpitations. Although you don’t need a prescription for most Vitamin E supplements, make sure to bring it up with your doctor beforehand to make sure it won’t interfere with other medications or regimes you’re on. This is especially the case for people taking anti-psychotic drugs and blood thinners. Better yet, try to get it from food sources–some of the most common are wheat germ, sunflower seeds, nuts, mangoes, and kiwi fruit.
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