Vitamin E is a vital nutrient that offers numerous benefits for women’s health. From its antioxidant properties to its role in immune function and cellular signaling, vitamin E is good for supporting overall well-being. Read on to learn more about how vitamin E can benefit women’s health, including its effects on oxidative stress, heart disease risk factors, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and dysmenorrhea.
- Combating Oxidative Stress and Boosting Antioxidants
Oxidative stress develops due to an imbalance between the body’s antioxidant defenses and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), causing cellular damage and increased disease risk.
As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E has shown potential in reducing oxidative stress markers and enhancing antioxidant defenses in certain populations.
A 2019 study focused on individuals with diabetic nephropathy showcased the potential of vitamin E in reducing oxidative stress. Diabetic nephropathy is kidney damage caused by high blood sugar levels.
In the study, it was found that taking 800 IU of vitamin E daily for 12 weeks increased glutathione peroxidase (GPx). GPX is an antioxidant enzyme that protects cells from oxidative damage.
With these findings, it’s safe to say that vitamin E is good for reducing your risks for various diseases associated with oxidative stress, most notably cancer.
- Prevention of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the number one cause of mortality among women, and reducing risk factors is crucial for maintaining cardiovascular health. Vitamin E supplements have shown promise in reducing heart disease risk factors like hypertension and unfavorable lipid profiles.
A review of 18 studies found that vitamin E supplementation significantly reduced systolic blood pressure compared to placebo treatments. Additionally, studies have shown that taking vitamin E in combination with omega-3 supplements can lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in individuals with metabolic syndrome.
These findings suggest that vitamin E supplementation may positively impact heart health by reducing key risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease.
- Managing Dysmenorrhea
Dysmenorrhea, characterized by severe menstrual pain and pelvic discomfort, can significantly impact a woman’s quality of life. Vitamin E supplementation has shown promise in reducing pain associated with dysmenorrhea.
In a study involving women with dysmenorrhea, daily vitamin E supplementation relieved menstrual pain more effectively than a placebo. Furthermore, combining vitamin E with omega-3 supplements improved pain relief.
Another study focused on women with endometriosis, a condition that occurs when uterine tissues grow uterine tissue outside the uterus. Vitamin E and vitamin C supplementation reduced the severity of pelvic pain and dysmenorrhea in these women.
As such, vitamin E supplementation may provide a natural and effective approach to managing the pain associated with dysmenorrhea.
- Enhancing Skin Health
Maintaining healthy skin is a common concern for many women. Researchers have long been interested in the benefits of vitamin E in promoting skin health, particularly in individuals with certain skin disorders such as eczema.
Though research in this area is limited, preliminary studies have shown promising results. Vitamin E capsules for the skin may help alleviate symptoms associated with eczema, such as itching and inflammation.
While more research is needed to fully understand the effects of vitamin E on skin health, its antioxidant properties and potential anti-inflammatory effects make it a promising nutrient for maintaining healthy skin.
- Improving Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) develops when there is an accumulation of fat in the liver in individuals who consume little to no alcohol. Research has indicated that vitamin E supplementation can improve various aspects of NAFLD.
A review of eight studies demonstrated that supplementing with vitamin E reduced levels of liver enzymes associated with inflammation and damage, as well as decreased blood lipid levels. Lowering these markers is essential for improving liver health in individuals with NAFLD.
It is clear that vitamin E has the potential to be used as a supportive treatment for NAFLD, providing hope to those who are suffering from this condition.
Pro tip: Supercharging your vitamin E intake can improve liver function. But you should also be mindful of habits that destroy your liver. Learn about these acts and how to eradicate them in your system.
- Supporting Cognitive Health
Cognitive decline is a common concern as individuals age, and maintaining optimal cognitive function is crucial for overall well-being. Vitamin E has been investigated for its potential role in protecting against cognitive decline.
With adequate levels of vitamin E, either via dietary sources or supplementation, you may get extra protection against cognitive decline. However, it is still unclear whether vitamin E supplementation benefits individuals with cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
More research is needed to fully understand the relationship between vitamin E and cognitive health. Nevertheless, maintaining optimal vitamin E levels through a balanced diet or supplementation may contribute to overall brain health.
Pro tip: Another way to support your cognitive health is by practicing mindful meditation. Check out its health benefits and how you can start doing it right away.
- Supporting Older Adults
As individuals age, their nutritional needs may change, and certain populations may require additional nutrient support. Older adults benefit especially from vitamin E because it reduces inflammation and improves immunity.
Older adults who have increased nutrient needs or do not consume sufficient amounts of vitamin E in their diets may benefit from vitamin E supplementation. Ensuring an adequate vitamin E intake can support overall health and well-being in this population.
Pro tip: While various health conditions may surface in line with old age, it’s still possible to enjoy this stage of your life without having experienced chronic diseases. Learn aging gracefully and how to protect your health completely.
- Improving Lung Function
Vitamin E supplementation has also shown potential benefits for improving lung function and symptoms associated with asthma in children and adults.
Research evidence has demonstrated that vitamin E supplements can enhance lung function and reduce symptoms of asthma. Vitamin E’s antioxidant properties help protect lung tissue from oxidative damage and inflammation, contributing to improved respiratory health.
With that, vitamin E may be a valuable supplement for individuals with asthma or other respiratory conditions.
Vitamin E Functions and Sources
As an antioxidant, vitamin E is well known for protecting cells, tissues, and organs from damage caused by free radicals. By inhibiting the formation of reactive oxygen molecules during fat oxidation, vitamin E reduces the risk of various types of cancer, such as lung, oral cavity, stomach, rectal, and prostate cancer.
In dermatology, vitamin E is widely used as a skin protector, reducing inflammation, signs of aging, and sun damage. It also helps minimize the appearance of scars and keeps the skin moisturized and hydrated. Moreover, vitamin E promotes a healthy scalp and nourished hair by creating a protective barrier, locking in moisture, and reducing oxidative stress.
On top of its dermatological benefits, vitamin E is vital for regulating muscle contraction, including uterine contraction, and the production of prostaglandins (lipids that impact inflammation and pain). It enhances physical endurance, increases energy levels, and reduces muscle fatigue after intense workouts or physical training.
To meet your daily vitamin E requirements, you can rely on various natural food sources. Here are some food sources that are abundant in vitamin E:
- Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, turnips, olives, avocados, green beans, and bell peppers
- Fruits: Mangoes, raspberries, cranberries, and kiwis
- Nuts: Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, brazil nuts, and filberts
- Fortified Foods: Cereals, fruit juices, spreads, and margarine fortified with vitamin E
- Plant Oils: Sunflower oil, corn oil, wheat germ oil, soybean oil, and safflower oil
- Animal Sources: Certain fish, such as herrings, tuna, and sardines
What Happens If You Have Vitamin E Deficiency?
Although a vitamin E deficiency is rare, it can have a severe impact on your health if left untreated. People with conditions that impede their ability to absorb this vitamin through their diet or inhibit fat metabolism may be at risk of deficiency.
Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency may include:
- impaired immune response
- numbness in the arms and legs
- muscle weakness
- problems with body coordination
- vision problems
But since these conditions may also indicate other health issues, the best course of action is to consult your doctor. That way, you’ll be directed to the proper diagnostic procedure, which may include taking a vitamin E blood test.
On the flip side, If left untreated, vitamin E deficiency can lead to severe complications such as total blindness, impaired cognitive function, heart disease, or permanent nerve damage.
Some specific conditions associated with vitamin E deficiency include:
- Dysarthria: a speech disorder caused by neurological injury
- Myopathy: muscular problems resulting in cramps, spasms, and stiffness
- Retinopathy: abnormal blood flow to the retina leading to impaired vision
- Hemolytic anemia: anemia caused by the rapid destruction of red blood cells
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I take vitamin E every day?
Yes, taking vitamin E every day is recommended, especially from dietary sources. People aged 14 and above are advised to take the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 15 mg of vitamin E daily. Lactating mothers should secure 19 mg per day.
When should I take vitamin E, morning or night?
Experts recommend taking vitamin E supplements at night in conjunction with a meal. This will encourage better absorption of the nutrient. In addition, ingesting vitamin E before you go to bed can help alleviate chronic insomnia, as evident in a 2023 study published in the journal Nutrients.
Can I take vitamins C and E together?
You can take vitamins C and E as a pair to get the most of their benefits. These two nutrients are known to be synergistic, which allows them to boost each other’s effectiveness.
The Bottom Line
From its role in reducing oxidative stress and heart disease risk factors to its potential in managing conditions such as NAFLD and dysmenorrhea, vitamin E plays a crucial role in supporting overall well-being. Additionally, its potential benefits for skin health, cognitive health, older adults, and lung function further highlight its importance in women’s health.
Whether obtained through a balanced diet or supplementation, ensuring an adequate intake of vitamin E can empower women to take control of their health and enhance their well-being.
Disclaimer: Remember, before starting any new supplement regimen, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to identify the appropriate dosage and to make sure that it matches your individual health needs. By incorporating vitamin E into a holistic approach to health, women can optimize their well-being and thrive in all aspects of life.