Vitamin E Benefits
Tocopherol, or vitamin E, is a fat-soluble vitamin in eight forms that is an important antioxidant. Vitamin E is often used in skin creams and lotions because it is claimed by the manufacturers to play a role in encouraging skin healing and reducing scarring after injuries such as burns.
Natural vitamin E exists in eight different forms or isomers, four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. All isomers have a chromanol ring, with a hydroxyl group which can donate a hydrogen atom to reduce free radicals and a hydrophobic side chain which allows for penetration into biological membranes. There is an alpha, beta, gamma and delta form of both the tocopherols and tocotrienols, determined by the number of methyl groups on the chromanol ring. Each form has its own biological activity, the measure of potency or functional use in the body.
Vitamin E, or alpha-tocopherol, is a leading antioxidant and a powerful ally in the fight against heart disease. Studies have shown that those that take vitamin E over an extended period of time are less likely to develop heart disease, including cardiomyopathy and artherosclerosis, or to have a heart attack.
Vitamin E helps ease respiratory problems, and may also prevent some of the damage that diabetes does to the body, particularly to the eyes. It also boosts your immune system’s ability to fight off infectious diseases by increasing levels of interferon and interleukin, the biochemicals that are produced by the immune system to fight infection.
Vitamin E protects the body from oxidation, a normal aging process by which oxygen breaks down the body’s tissues. It works to neutralize free radicals, which are naturally occurring unstable molecules that can damage your body’s healthy molecules by taking electrons to balance themselves. When enough vitamin E is present in the body, unstable free radicals get their electrons from the vitamin E molecules and leave the healthy molecules alone, thus causing less damage to tissues.
Vitamin E is being tested as a treatment for many chronic diseases for the elderly, including Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, osteoarthritis, and prostate enlargement. And it is thought that this powerful antioxidant may help keep some types of cancer from developing.