Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that can play a role in helping support health. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means it may help to protect the body's cells from damage caused by free radicals.* Free radicals are molecules that might damage cells and contribute to the development of certain conditions.* Vitamin E is also known to play a role in supporting healthy skin, eyes, and a healthy immune function in certain individuals.*
The history of vitamin E dates back to 1922, when a researcher named Herbert Evans discovered a compound in wheat germ oil that seemed to prevent the growth of certain types of bacteria. This compound was later identified as vitamin E, and it was officially recognized as a vitamin in 1936. In the following years, researchers discovered that vitamin E was not just a single compound but a group of compounds known as tocopherols and tocotrienols.
Tocopherols and tocotrienols
The chemical composition of vitamin E is a group of eight compounds known as tocopherols and tocotrienols. The most active form of vitamin E is alpha-tocopherol, which is the form that is most commonly found in supplements and fortified foods. Alpha-tocopherol is responsible for most of the vitamin E activity in the body.*
The other forms of vitamin E, such as beta-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, and delta-tocopherol, also have some antioxidant activity but are not usually as potent as alpha-tocopherol. Tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E found mainly in palm oil, rice bran oil, and barley might also have antioxidant properties.* You can read more about vitamin E isomers and its different tocopherols.
Foods that are rich in vitamin E include vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables. Good sources of vitamin E include almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and spinach. Vitamin E is also found in wheat germ oil, which is a good source of vitamin. Avocados, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash are also good sources of vitamin E.
Combining vitamin E with other vitamins
Vitamin E may interact positively with other vitamins, particularly vitamin A and vitamin C.* Vitamin A may play a role in supporting healthy vision, while vitamin C may help support the immune system.* When these vitamins are taken together, they might help to support the body's cells from damage caused by free radicals for some individuals.*
Vitamin E might also have a synergistic effect with vitamin K, which may play a role in blood circulation.* Vitamin E is available in various formats, including capsules, tablets, and softgels. The most common form of vitamin E is alpha-tocopherol, which is available in both natural and synthetic forms.
Natural vitamin E is derived from plants, while synthetic vitamin E is manufactured in a lab. Synthetic vitamin E is usually more widely available, but it might not as easily absorbed by the body depending on the delivery method and potency.* Natural vitamin E is also usually more stable and less likely to oxidize, which might decrease its effectiveness.*
It is also important to note that vitamin E supplements should be used with caution, as high doses of the vitamin may interact with certain medications and have secondary effects.
It is always best to talk to a doctor before starting any supplement regimen.
In conclusion, Vitamin E is an essential nutrient that may play a role in supporting health and wellness.* By consuming foods that are rich in vitamin E, or in some cases taking vitamin E supplements, you might help add this nutrient in your regimen.
However, it is always best to consult a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen. Additionally, it is important to have a balanced diet with a variety of nutrient-dense foods to ensure adequate intake of vitamin E and other essential nutrients.
While vitamin E supplements can be beneficial in certain cases, it is always best to obtain nutrients through a well-balanced diet. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains can provide the body with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals that work together to promote overall health and well-being.*
As always, talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. Get professional advice if you think you might need a vitamin E supplement or are already taking one to ensure you're not exceeding the amounts you may need.