A variety of foods, including vegetable oil, vegetables, wheat germ, poultry, eggs, meat, and cereal, contain Vitamin E. Vitamin E can also be taken as a supplement, and it is included in a number of substances to use topically. One interesting property of Vitamin E is that it dissolves in fat. It is sometimes used to treat or prevent diseases of the blood and heart, such as:
- Heart attack
- Hardening of the arteries;
- Leg pain;
- Chest pain; and,
- High blood pressure.
Vitamin E is also used topically and has been popular in skin care cosmetics in recent years. It has anti-oxidant properties and is therefore sometimes used to prevent or treat effects of aging or chemotherapy on the skin.
Benefits of Vitamin E
Besides being effective to treat Vitamin E deficiency, a number of diseases or conditions have been subject to study to determine the effectiveness of Vitamin E as a preventative or treatment. Those include:
- Bladder cancer;
- Alzheimer’s disease and dementia;
- Painful menstruation and premenstrual syndrome (PMS);
- Chemotherapy-related nerve damage;
- Liver disease;
- Macular degeneration;
- Rheumatoid arthritis;
- Male infertility;
- Parkinson’s disease; and,
- Issues with healing following surgery.
Vitamin E is considered safe for most people when used in a recommended dose (15 mg) or applied topically as directed. Vitamin E is potentially unsafe in high doses (400 IU/day or more). Such doses may be harmful to persons with heart disease or diabetes, and some physicians believe large doses can cause serious side effects or even death.
Certain conditions warrant avoidance of Vitamin E or use only as directed by medical or health care professionals. Those include:
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding;
- Low levels of Vitamin K;
- Retinitis pigmentosa;
- Bleeding disorders;
- Head and neck cancer; and
- Bleeding during or after surgery.
Vitamin E may have an interaction with certain drugs and medications. To avoid problems, use only as directed by medical or health care professionals. The substances include:
- Statins (for lowering cholesterol);
- Niacin; and,
- Wafarin (Coumadin to slow blood clotting).
Uses for Vitamin E
Vitamin E deficiency is rare, and deficiency symptoms have not been found in healthy people who obtain little Vitamin E from their diets. Aside from treating a deficiency, Vitamin E’s antioxidant properties make is a valuable substance to treat cataracts, cancer, strokes, and heart disease, and it is very likely to be effective in masking signs of aging.
Vitamin E is generally recommended as part of a broader health condition treatment or preventative health care regime. Many over-the-counter daily vitamin and mineral tablets contain the recommended dose of Vitamin E to be used in conjunction with a health care program that includes regular exercise, balanced diet, weight management, balanced nutritional supplements of vitamins and minerals, stress management, and regular medical monitoring.