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Can Vitamin E Extend Lifespan?

Vitamin E is the name for eight fat-soluble compounds. It is found naturally in some foods and is often taken as a supplement. Vitamin E is known for many health benefits, not the least of which is its ability to destroy free radicals. The antioxidant properties of vitamin E may not extend your lifespan per se, but can definitely help you age better.

How Much and Where to Get It

The recommended daily intake of vitamin E will differ depending on your age, gender, and whether you are pre- or post-natal. Generally, an adult male and female will need about 15 milligrams each. A lactating woman will need 19 milligrams. It is not particularly easy to get your recommended daily amount of vitamin E if you are on a low-fat diet, so it is beneficial to supplement your diet with a multivitamin or even a vitamin E capsule if you are trying to lose weight.

One of the best sources of vitamin E is wheat germ oil. Just one tablespoon will have your entire day’s worth of vitamin E. Most nuts and some seeds are excellent sources of vitamin E – with the best being sunflower seeds. However, do please eat the unsalted ones so you don’t swap one problem for another and raise your blood pressure, which can put you at risk for a cardiovascular incident. Dry roasted almonds, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and dry roasted hazelnuts are also decent sources. Vitamin E may also be added to certain foods such as cereals or margarine.

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Deficiency of vitamin E is uncommon since it is added to so many everyday foods. Symptoms of deficiency include loss of muscle mass, impaired vision, and liver and kidney failure. Pregnant women who do not get enough vitamin E tend to have more miscarriages and premature births than women who get adequate vitamin E. The simplest way to avoid deficiency is to take a multivitamin.

Vitamin E is not toxic in larger doses. Usually the body will dispose of any excess nutrients that it doesn’t need. The main problem with too much vitamin E is that it can interact with certain medications. In larger doses it impairs the body’s ability to clot blood. With that said, the body can handle up to 1000 milligrams of vitamin E safely.

The Benefits of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is necessary for good health, and the body cannot make it on its own. Since it is an antioxidant, it offers many life-preserving benefits. Antioxidants destroy free radicals that enter the body through pollution, consumption of preservatives or chemicals, and even due to excessive stress. Free radicals are oxidizing and react with cellular components. They cause cells to either function poorly or die. Antioxidants work to destroy the effects of free radicals before they can do damage to your body. Damage takes the form of premature aging and illnesses, including cancer.

Like any antioxidant, vitamin E offers some fairly impressive health benefits. It reduces the risk of many diseases and ailments including stroke and osteoarthritis. It may help control blood sugar levels and lower blood pressure. It can lower cholesterol in diabetes sufferers and improve cognitive performance in Alzheimer’s patients. Vitamin E can also speed up wound healing, combat premature aging, help treat lupus, and even slow the effects of Parkinson’s disease.

Vitamin E has been shown to benefit the body both internally and externally. You will see just how many organs it benefits below. Vitamin E has also been used to treat many different skin conditions and is considered useful for everything from scar prevention to stretch marks.

Vitamin E and Your Heart

One of vitamin E’s most important roles is that of heart disease prevention. Regular consumption of vitamin E supplements has been associated with lowered incidence of coronary artery disease. Vitamin E seems to limit the oxidation of dangerous LDL cholesterol. An increased daily intake of this vitamin correlates with lowered heart disease mortality rates. The anti-inflammatory properties are very important to the health of your heart.

Vitamin E may speed up healing after a bypass surgery too. A supplement of alpha-tocopherol (a component of vitamin E) has been shown to reduce the incidence of nonfatal heart attacks. People on renal dialysis have a reduced risk of heart attack when they supplemented their diets with alpha-tocopherol. There is some evidence to suggest that vitamin E prevents plaque from rupturing and inhibits clotting of the blood.

Vitamin E and Your Skin

One of the most notable benefits of vitamin E is its effects on skin. Indeed, it is added to many different skincare products and even taken orally to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. The antioxidant value of vitamin E has anti-aging effects on the skin.

Vitamin E has been known to treat many external ailments as well. It is used to treat various skin conditions such as psoriasis. It is very helpful in the treatment of sunburns and scars. Antioxidants in vitamin E make it important in skin cancer prevention. Women find vitamin E helpful in reducing the appearance of stretch marks.

Vitamin E protects cells (including skin cells) from damage. Such damage can eventually turn cancerous. Its antioxidant properties help the immune system fight precancerous cells and prevent them from becoming cancerous.

Vitamin E and Alzheimer’s

Eating a diet rich in vitamin E protects your body against cell damage and aging. It appears that this protectiveness extends to Alzheimer’s disease. In one study, researchers found that people who consumed the most vitamin E and C had the lowest chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Vitamin E is best sourced from whole foods rather than supplements. The benefits of vitamin E seem to be seen when it is ingested in the form of food rather than supplements. As mentioned earlier, vitamin E is made up of eight components, and supplements don’t always have the same balance as food does. The lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease associated with vitamin E intake is seen when all eight components of the vitamin are consumed. In fact, too much alpha-tocopherol (one of the eight components, and the one often found in vitamin supplements) might even be dangerous.

Vitamin E and Cancer

Antioxidants are famous for fighting diseases like cancer, and vitamin E is no exception. Vitamin E also boosts the immune system, which gives your body an added fighting power against cancer. Vitamin E helps increase the number of T-cells in your body. T-cells are integral to immune system functioning, as they destroy harmful substances within the blood stream. Some studies suggest that higher levels of vitamin E intake are correlated with lower levels of prostate, breast, colon, and bladder cancers.

Vitamin E and Cataracts

Cataracts are a gradual blurring or clouding of the lens that can lead to vision loss. They are formed when protein oxidizes in the lens. Since antioxidants fight oxidization, it makes sense that diets high in antioxidant-rich food can prevent cataracts. Some studies found that diets highest in lutein and vitamin E combined had lower rates of cataracts. It is thought that the nutrients can absorb radiation from ultraviolet rays and prevent damage to the cells in the eye. Vitamin E can even slow the progression of existing cataracts.

Precautions

Don’t rely on vitamin E alone to fight illness. It goes without saying that all changes to diet and treatment plans should go through your doctor. While much of the research surrounding the health benefits of vitamin E are positive, there are some conflicting views out there.

Can Vitamin E Extend Lifespan?

In short – no. Vitamin E is no magic pill that will extend your lifespan to the age of 100. What vitamin E can do is improve your quality of life, help you age better, prevent cognitive decline, and prevent certain diseases. Disease prevention might very well be the key to extending lifespan, but it is too difficult to pinpoint vitamin E as the single factor in prevention of an illness. It is certainly not a cure-all vitamin and will not substitute for a good diet and exercise. A diet rich in antioxidants, which includes vitamin E, will give you the best possible chance of living a long and healthy life.

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