Vitamin E: Much More Than Skin Deep

Dry, chapped skin is a common wintertime condition.  You might use a vitamin E lotion or oil to soothe and heal your skin. That would be a great job for vitamin E (which is actually a family of eight compounds called “tocopherols”), although this important vitamin offers you much more.  In addition to maintaining healthy skin, vitamin E is a vital antioxidant, protecting cell walls against the damage of free radicals and supporting heart, brain and circulatory health. It helps the body use oxygen, prevents blood clots, improves wound healing and fertility and helps prevent cancer.

The ideal daily intake to maintain good health is 400-600 IU (international units).  This range is many times higher than both the EC and US RDA.  To reap the many benefits of this essential nutrient, you can focus on vitamin E rich foods (such as nuts, seeds, their unrefined oils, dark green leafy vegetables, avocados, peppers, sweet potatoes, beans, and wheat germ) and consider taking a supplement to meet the optimal daily amount.

Just like vitamins A and D, vitamin E is fat-soluble, meaning that it is best absorbed together with fat.  If you are following a low-fat diet, you may not be benefiting optimally. Vitamin C and selenium also boost vitamin E absorption.

When selecting a supplement look for naturally sourced tocopherols, such as vitamin E from http://hollandandbarrett.com or from your local health food or vitamin shop, and store in a cool, dark place.