Ingredient Review: Vitamin E
Common Name: Vitamin E, tocopherol, tocotrienol
Source: It exists in 8 chemical forms (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta- tocopherol and tocotrienol), but only the tocopherols are helpful to humans.
Background: Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin needed for a variety of daily physiologic processes.
Claims: Vitamin E is used to help prevent heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes (and its complications). It is also an anti-oxidant and is recommended as part of a balanced, healthy diet. It is possibly effective in treating Alzheimer’s Disease, anemias, certain blood disorders (thalassemias), bladder cancer, dementia, pain during menstruation, certain skin diseases, Huntington’s Disease, male infertility, Parkinson’s Disease, PMS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, sunburn, and uveitis (inflammation of a layer of the eye). Some people report large improvements on the health of their hair, skin, and nails when taking Vitamin E supplements.
Objective Information: Here is what we know – the quick and dirty science of it: Vitamin E comes in 8 forms (as mentioned above). However, only 4 of those are really helpful in human biology: the tocopherols. It has been shown to improve a wide variety of health issues, however, the effects on the skin are easiest to see. It acts as a natural sunblock (approximate SPF is 3) – especially when used in conjunction with Vitamin C. It helps to maintain hydration and prevent dry, scaly skin. It reduces inflammation and redness. It reduces sun damage (in addition to being a sun blocker). It helps the reduction of the appearance of scars. And lastly, it moisturizes.
With all the proven benefits and a very low risk of side effects, Vitamin E is a great addition to your skin care regimen.
Side effects: This is a vitamin and likely safe whether taken by mouth (recommended 15g orally per day) or applied to the skin (in any amount). If you take more than the recommended dose is possibly dangerous even though research studies don’t agree how much is “too much” and what the bad side effects are. Some commonly noted side effects are diarrhea, stomach cramps, fatigue, weakness, headache, rash, blurred vision, and sometimes bruising.
Subjective Information: Vitamin E is essential and plays a critical role in a wide variety of normal processes. Applied to the skin it can help reduce dark spots, tighten skin tone, sooth sunburns, and even help scars heal. Vitamin E lotions are sometimes very greasy and are better used at night before bed. If taken by mouth, do not exceed the recommended dose. This is fat soluble – your body will not so easily get rid of excess – it will try to store it all up.
Recommendation: Vitamin E is an outstanding supplement to any skin regimen. When taken by mouth, do not exceed the recommended daily dose. When using in a skin cream, you may need to apply at night since some of the Vitamin E containing lotions are greasy. However, there is little to no risk of “overdosing” if you only use Vitamin E as a cream. With all the proven benefits and a very low risk of side effects, this is a great addition to your skin care regimen.
ALWAYS tell your doctor, pharmacist, and other healthcare providers about any and all dietary supplements that you take. Some supplements can interact or interfere with prescription medications so it is very important to let them know *all* of the supplements that you take – even if you don’t take them regularly.
Now you know, but as always, what you do with the information is up to you.
Dr. Nick has been practicing medicine for over 10 years. After finishing his MD he began his residency in Laboratory Medicine where he gained first hand knowledge of some of the effects of dietary supplements. Dr. Nick now specializes in gastrointestinal health, Over the years of vigorous study and in-depth experimenting with a variety of dietary supplements Dr. Nick found that there are few sources of clear, evidence-backed, honest information about what the supplements can help achieve - and what they cannot. There are many companies out there selling promises without providing results.
Dr. Nick's goal is to educate the general public and do his part to help the world get healthy again. The industry needed an honest educated practitioner to reveal the real benefits of specific dietary supplements and to unbiasedly dig into the formulas and companies selling these formulas to reveal the true Pros and Cons of each supplement and to educate the general public about these ingredients found in various dietary supplements. Dr. Nick promoting general health and proper use of nutritional supplements is step one of the goal. In order to get the best effects without wasting time and money, a proper understanding of chemistry and human physiology are critically important. Since not everyone has the time to master these topics, Dr. Nick hopes to help clarify otherwise complicated topics and give the best, clear, evidence-backed input to help each person select the most appropriate supplements.