Vitamin E

Vitamin E is essential for us owing to its potent antioxidant properties. As an antioxidant, vitamin E works to guard the fatty acids in our body against oxidation as well as rancidity. The antioxidant role of vitamin E assumes significance when one realizes that the cellular as well as sub-cellular membranes in our body enclose a considerable amount of fatty acids that need to be protected against oxidation.

All these fatty acids, generally polyunsaturated, play crucial roles inside the cells. Scientists are of the view that oxidation of these fatty acids will not only lead to several diseases, but may also be responsible for a number of symptoms related to aging.

When one is suffering from a deficit of vitamin E, they may experience impairment of several enzyme systems. However, scientists are yet to confirm any precise function of vitamin E in any particular enzyme. According to a section of scientists, the outcome on the enzyme systems may possibly be owing to the oxidation or even peroxidation of the components of the various tissues in the enzyme system.

Numerous studies undertaken with red blood cells (erythrocytes) have demonstrated the protective effect of vitamin E on the cells in our body. In one such study, a group of participants were administered 600 IU (international unit) of vitamin E daily for 10 days and subsequently tested for the resilience of their red blood cells against oxidative "aging" when they were in contact with too much oxygen and light. During the same study, the red blood cells obtained from people who were not provided with the supplement were found to be completely "budded". In other words, the red blood cells of participants in the second group were completely damaged due to oxidation. On the other hand, participants who received the vitamin E supplement experienced "budding" of only eight percent of their red blood cells.

Vitamin E offers numerous health benefits related to the skin. Actually, several skin care products contain this vitamin and today vitamin E has virtually become an integral part of all skin care products. This is because it has been proven that vitamin E is invaluable for the health of our skin.

Using creams, lotions and other skin care products containing vitamin E as well as taking this vitamin orally ensures that our skin does not age prematurely or we suffer from the symptoms related to aging. Vitamin E makes the skin look youthful by diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. At the same time, it is believed that vitamin E plays a crucial role in eliminating the free radicals, which are responsible for the aging of the skin. It helps to cure several skin-related problems and, hence, the antioxidant effects of vitamin E are valuable for the health of our skin's health.

Lotions and creams containing vitamin E are effective in preventing as well as treating sunburns, as they protect the epidermis against the initial damages caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. When vitamin E is added to sunscreens, their effectiveness increases manifold. It is worth mentioning that sunscreen lotions do not start working right away. In fact, you need to apply them about 20 minutes prior to being exposed to the sun, because you need to allow sufficient time for the epidermis to absorb vitamin E properly.

Vitamin E may prove to be effective in treating several different skin diseases as well as skin conditions. Several creams and lotions that are applied topically for treating psoriasis contain vitamin E. When taken orally, vitamin E may be useful for treating erythema - a condition wherein the skin becomes inflamed and reddish with tender lumps. Erythema is a very painful skin condition.

Now, here is one of the controversial health benefits offered by vitamin E. Earlier, people believed that vitamin E was beneficial for preventing as well as treating scarring caused by acne or surgical marks. Moreover, it was also believed that vitamin E was effective in healing skin from various types of damages, including burn injuries. However, findings of a number of researches undertaken recently have questioned the usefulness of vitamin E for these conditions. Precisely speaking, a number of studies have suggested that using creams containing vitamin E does not help in removing surgical scarring. On the contrary, these studies hint that use of such creams may actually worsen the appearance of the scars. This is, however, contradictory to the personal experience of some people who have claimed that creams containing vitamin E have helped to make their scars look lighter.

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