Vitamins are essential nutrients that are required by your body to carry out numerous functions effectively. They cannot be synthesized in your body alone and they need to be consumed daily from various food sources and the environment.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps protect your body against the damage caused by free radicals and prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol. It is also essential for muscle maintenance – be they skeletal, cardiac or smooth muscle. It is also required for red blood cell formation.
But the primary role of vitamin E is free radical eradication. Free radicals can damage our cells through a process called oxidation, which is also a known potential cause of many chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Vitamin E is also a vital part of your immune system due to its antioxidant properties.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin E for adults older than 14-years is 15 mg, pregnant women of any age should get 15 mg and breastfeeding women of any age should take 19 mg.
Good vitamin E food sources include vegetable oils, avocados, spinach, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, nuts, and whole grains. Wheat germ contains the highest amount of vitamin E. Other foods that contain a significant amount of vitamin E include eggs, greens (like beet, collard, mustard, turnip), sweet potatoes, asparagus, and yams.
People who are incapable of absorbing fats properly usually develop vitamin E deficiency because it is a fat-soluble vitamin.
Here Are 5 Signs You Need To Look Out For As They Indicate Vitamin E Deficiency
1. Low Immunity
Vitamin E has a major role in maintaining a good immune response. A deficiency of this vitamin can impede the immune response to harmful agents and trigger sickness and disease. A person with a vitamin E deficiency is more likely to get sick more often and experience longer durations of illness. A vitamin E deficiency could also exacerbate relative symptoms of any illness.
The antioxidant properties of vitamin E also contribute to the primary defense mechanism for prevention of both chronic and acute illnesses. Vitamin E also plays an important role in the differentiation of white blood cells and a deficiency, therefore, leads to decreased differentiation and production of disease-fighting white blood cells.
So it’s pretty obvious that individuals with vitamin E deficiency are more prone to infectious diseases and the development of tumors. These risk factors increase during the aging process.
ALSO READ: 10 Yummy Immune Boosting Foods
2. Vision Problems
Vitamin E plays a key role in maintaining good vision and its deficiency may inhibit vision ability. This is because vitamin E deficiency means inefficient removal of free radicals which cause systemic damage to eye cells. This damage increases the risks for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataract formation.
AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 55 in the United States. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends vitamin E for prevention of numerous eye disorders including the weakening of eye muscles, fluctuating powers etc.
An early diagnosis and preventive measures can really make a big difference in slowing the progression of diseases and treating them. In experimental studies, vitamin E has been shown to prevent, slow progression of, or improve macular degeneration.
Scroll down for more vitamin E deficiency signs you should be mindful of
3. Muscle Weakness
A deficiency in vitamin E can cause your muscles to become frail. This is because free radicals get to attack the contents of your muscle cells. Vitamin E deficiency can eventually lead to myopathy, where muscular fibers fail to function and get weak.
Muscle cramps are also a sign of vitamin E deficiency. They can be described as a sudden, painful and involuntary contraction of the muscles. Foot and leg cramps are most common and occur after the exertion of pressure. Nocturnal leg cramps can be differentiated as cramps that happen at night when at rest.
The latest research also shows an association between vitamin E and muscular dystrophy and diabetes-related muscle weakness.
4. Loss of Muscle Mass
Vitamin E has a very important role when it comes to building muscle mass. Bodybuilders have been praising this vitamin for years and they make it a point to consume it in adequate amounts daily.
During exercise or any strenuous physical activity, your muscle cells have a tendency to tear which is when vitamins and minerals play a major role. Physiologically, vitamin E ensures that the plasma membrane of your cells remains intact. The plasma membrane protects the cell from spilling its contents and controls what moves in and out. Hence muscles recover and heal better in the presence of Vitamin E.
Vitamin E has long since been known as just a powerful antioxidant but now scientists say that the plasma membrane cannot properly heal without the presence of vitamin E.
5. Hair and Skin Problems
Free radicals can wreak havoc wherever they form. Your skin is very vulnerable to injury from free radicals especially the lipids in it. Skin lipids are an easy target for both internal and external damage (like UV exposure and pollutants). As vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant, it is very effective in protecting skin lipids and destroying free radicals.
Being an antioxidant, vitamin E also protects the skin from damage done by UV rays from sunlight leading to wrinkling. It nourishes the skin and prevents aging. Many commercial beauty products contain vitamin E as an essential ingredient.
Vitamin E deficiency can also cause hair loss. This is because it is vital for good blood circulation. Good circulation keeps the scalp and hair follicles healthy. As vitamin E is essential for stabilizing plasma membranes of cells, it is no surprise that it also protects hair follicles from free radical damage.
Vitamin E works wonders with the mineral selenium to combat free radical attacks on the cells in your follicles. Consuming a diet that is poor in vitamins and minerals and other essential nutrients can lead to hair loss.
ALSO READ: How to Use Green Tea Bags for Skin Care
Guest post by:
Amanda Bentley has 5 years’ experience in the food and beverage industry and currently works as a Content writer at Qavashop. Qavashop.com is an online store for all the “coffee aficionados” located in the GCC. Apart from providing its customers with quality coffee machines and consumables, it also provides them with skilled, knowledgeable advice on how to make their own restaurant quality espresso at home.
Thanks for reading. I hope this information was helpful. Until next time!
Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.