What is Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin. It is not made in the body and must be obtained through the diet and/or through supplements. It is stored in the liver to be distributed to the rest of the body. It naturally occurs in foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, rice bran and wheat germ oil. There are 8 naturally occurring compounds that make up vitamin E, which can be divided into two classes – tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma and delta) and tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma and delta). Some supplements have a mixture of these; others are just alpha tocopherol. This can also be either natural or synthetic. As a guide, the synthetic form of vitamin E is labelled ‘D-L’ and the natural form is labelled ‘L’.
The roles of vitamin E include:
• Cardiovascular health (heart health)
• Supporting the skin
• Cholesterol support
• Support for women – specifically Fibrocystic Breast Disease and Pre-menstrual tension (PMT)
• Eye health What may be some signs of deficiency?
• Skin complaints
• Hormonal issues (particularly in women, breast health related)
• Cardiovascular health Absorption of vitamin E Optimal liver function is required for the absorption of vitamin E because it is fat soluble.
Therefore if one’s ability to break down fats is hindered (e.g poor levels of bile, or gallbladder removal) then we advise taking vitamin E with the food supplement artichoke and/or lecithin granules or tablets. Some vitamin E supplements may also be sold as ‘emulsified’ (pre-broken down) to aid absorbency.
How can I take Vitamin E?
Vitamin E may be taken as tablets, capsules or liquid drops (often the drops are emulsified for better absorption). Vitamin E oil or wheat germ oil (rich in vitamin E) can be applied topically to the skin and may help with skin dryness and healing.