Sometimes described as the master anti aging vitamin – Vitamin E is not a single vitamin – it’s a whole family of eight vitamins that are active throughout the body – each of them with unique functions.
A vitamin E supplement can help you fight skin aging from within and it’s role in reducing oxidative stress make it one of the best anti aging vitamins there is.
Oxidative stress may not mean that much to you immediately – but those two words sum up why your skin ages. Free radical damage causes oxidative stress and the result shows in all the obvious signs of skin aging – lines, wrinkles and sagginess.
Although we need to breathe oxygen to stay alive – oxygen can be a risky substance inside the body because it can make molecules overly reactive. These over reacting molecules are called free radicals and they attack and damage the cell structures around them – a process called oxidative stress.
Vitamin E is one of a group of key anti aging vitamins and minerals that protect the skin and other cell structures in your body from free radical damage. Some researchers believe that vitamin E is the most important of all the anti aging antioxidants – the master vitamin.
Vitamin E works as an anti aging antioxidant either through your diet or when applied directly to your skin.
Applied directly vitamin E protects the skin from ultraviolet radiation (also called UV light) which is one of the main cause of skin aging. There are many research studies proving beyond doubt that vitamin E applied topically to the skin prevents and repairs UV damage.
Vitamin E has similar anti aging benefits in food. Research has shown that eating a diet rich in vitamin E provides skin cell membranes with protection from free radical damage.
Since vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin it can be stored in the body for some time but you need to keep levels topped up regularly to fight skin aging.
Nutritionists estimate that over 95% of Americans have a diet providing below the recommended dieatary level of vitamin E – currently 30 mg per day.
The trouble is – you may not find it that easy to get the levels of vitamin E you need from food alone.
The best food sources are: sunflower seeds (and oil), almonds, olive oil and olives, papaya, avocado and to a lesser degree – spinach and blueberries.
Wheat is a great source of vitamin E in food so you might think that bread would be a good thing to eat. Unfortunately whilst vitamin E is present in the wheat germ layer – it’s almost completely removed in most commercial flour production.
Making your own bread using wholemeal flour with a high wheat germ content or adding wheat germ to breakfast cereals is your best bet.
Vitamin E in oils and seeds can be damaged by exposure to the air and bottles and containers should kept tightly sealed in dark cupboards to retain maximum vitamin E content.
So – the challenge for most of us will be upping our levels of vitamin E in food to the levels required for a great anti aging diet.
A vitamin E supplement can help give the highest level of this amazing anti aging antioxidant – but you need to be really careful what you buy.
The vast majority of vitamin E supplements contain only one part of the vitamin E family – a fraction of the vitamin known as alpha-tocopherol. You need a supplement that provides a balance of gamma-tocopherol and alpha-tocopherol.
The best vitamin E supplements will also contain natural vitamin E – the form of this important anti aging vitamin that occurs naturally in food. What you are more likely to find in most vitamin E supplements is synthetic vitamin E – a much inferior product and not worth spending your hard earned money on.
The maximum upper daily limit of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) is 1000 mg. Although this is a guideline based on alpha-tocopherol vitamin E – you could safely apply this upper limit to all forms of vitamin E.
Whether you choose to increase levels of vitamin E rich foods in your diet or you wish to take a high quality natural vitamin E supplement – one way or another you should make sure you get enough of this important anti aging vitamin.