- Neutralizes harmful free radicals
- Vitamin E plays a key role in the protection of cell membranes. When it comes to neutralizing free radicals, it is one of the most powerful antioxidants. It protects the heart muscle and other muscles, too. It slows down the aging processes in the cells.
- Positive effect on the cardiovascular system
- It has a positive effect on the heart and the vascular system by slowing down the aging of the cells of these organs.
Vitamin E is one of the most potent fat soluble antioxidants. It plays a role in the prevention of several illnesses including heart diseases or cancer. Its effects prevail on cell level, and this way it can slow down aging.
Vitamin E is a general name for the group of tocopherols. Tocopherols exist in 4 forms: alpha, beta, gamma and delta-tocopherol. The most common and most effective form of vitamin E is alpha-tocopherol. Since vitamin E is fat soluble, the body can store it for quite a long time in the liver and the adipose tissues. It is only found in a few foods, most of which are rich in fat. So people on a low-fat diet like bodybuilders may not get enough vitamin E. For them, it is recommended to take vitamin E supplements.
Why it is worth using
One of the most important roles of vitamin E is the protection of cell membranes. Furthermore, it facilitates the absorption of vitamin K and selenium. Vitamin E is mostly important because of its antioxidant effect: it helps neutralize free radicals that can harm the cells.
And by protecting the cell membranes, it might even prevent cancer. However, this topic is widely disputed in medicine: after all, a simple substance that is found naturally in our food, is alleged to prevent a disease which is considered to be incurable. Furthermore, vitamin E can help prevent cardiovascular diseases like heart attack or stroke by reducing LDL cholesterol levels and preventing the formation of blood clots. And taken together with vitamin C, it can also prevent arteriosclerosis.
- Body detoxification
- It plays a particularly important role in protecting the lungs against the harmful effects of cigarette smoke or air pollution.
- Prevents the signs of aging
- It protects the skin, the hair, the nails and the eyes against the signs of aging.
How to use it
Labeling: Some labels indicate quantitative units in international units (IU). 1 IU of vitamin E = 0.67 mg. But this only stands for d-alpha tocopherol. The so-called “vitamin E activity” is different for different tocopherols. That’s the reason why the IU was introduced: to standardize how many milligrams of active substance is equivalent to the same vitamin E effect in each type of tocopherol.
|Active substance||1 IU = ? mg|
|d-alpha-tocopherol||0.67 mg = 1 IU|
|d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate||0.73 mg = 1 IU|
|dl-alpha-tocopherol||0.91 mg = 1 IU|
|dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate||1 mg = 1 IU|
|d-beta-tocopherol||1.67 mg = 1 IU|
|d-gamma-tocopherol||6.67-2.22 mg = 1 IU|
|d-alpha-tocotrienol||3.33 mg = 1 IU|
|d-delta-tocopherol||66.67 mg = 1 IU|
Quantity: The recommended daily amount is 8 mg for women and 10 mg for men (this is equivalent to 12-15 IU). However, this amount is barely enough to satisfy the most basic vitamin E needs. It requires a much larger portion to enjoy the antioxidant benefits. 400 to 1200 IU per day (this is 1-3 of 400-IU capsules) is considered normal.
If the intake of vitamin E is less than the required daily amount, it can lead to nerve damage and the lifespan of the red blood cells may be shortened, too.
Ingesting large amounts of vitamin E (2000 mg or 2-3000 IU a day) doesn’t have any known harmful effects. In the worst case it may cause headache or diarrhea in individuals who are sensitive to fats (as it is mostly ingested in the form of oils). Furthermore, a too high vitamin E intake may hinder the absorption of vitamin A.
Hint: there is no consensus in technical literature on the question whether vitamin E from natural sources (d-alpha-tocopherol) is more effective than vitamin E from artificial sources (dl-alpha-tocopherol – one “L” more). However, both research and the word of mouth tend to support the view that the natural form is better. But there is another assumption, too, namely, that our bodies can handle mixed tocopherols the best, because this resembles the natural form the most. And this view seems logical, too.
Timing: The ideal time for taking your vitamin E supplement is before breakfast or before dinner. By taking vitamin E before or during meals, you can prevent irritation of the stomach.
On the skin: The oil in vitamin E capsules can be used on the skin, too.
- The antioxidant effect of vitamin E can be enhanced by combining it with other antioxidants: ALA (alpha-lipoic acid), vitamin A, vitamin C or beta-carotene.
- Selenium supports the absorption of vitamin E.
- A combination of 1000 mg of vitamin C, 500 mg of vitamin E and 30 mg of beta-carotene can significantly raise the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), the most powerful antioxidant enzyme of the body, thus providing extreme protection against various harmful and catabolic processes.
The main vitamin E sources are nuts. Wheat germ is one of the richest sources: 2 tablespoons contain 40 mg of vitamin E.
Possible side effects
Toxicity: despite the fact that vitamin E is fat soluble, toxicity is very rare.
List of prohibited substances: none.
Vitamin E is one of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), all of which are inevitable for life. It is essential for the normal functioning of the nerve cells, the muscle tissues and the immune system, and it also protects the body from harmful effects by neutralizing free radicals.
It revs up recovery after intense workout
During intense weight training, part of your muscle tissues are broken down, but this is a natural process. Your system will actually repair these micro-traumas by building larger and stronger muscle tissues. And vitamin E plays an important role in this process. Research has shown that vitamin E makes recovery after workout significantly faster. This enables much more efficient protein synthesis and helps prevent symptoms of overtraining.
Another study has shown that vitamin E improves the insulin sensitivity of muscle cells. Thus the muscle cells can take up more nutrients: amino acids, blood sugar and other nutrients reach the muscle cells faster and more efficiently, ensuring optimum protein synthesis. Taken right after workout, vitamin E significantly reduced the time required for recovery.
Vitamin E has been examined in several studies, which have shown positive effects in the case of the following symptoms and diseases:
- menopause symptoms
- cardiovascular illnesses
- high blood pressure
- Alzheimer’s disease
- cancer and other tumors
- clogged arteries; arteriosclerosis
- various eye diseases
- heart attack
- muscular dystrophy
- HIV (AIDS)
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