The compound of Vitamin E was discovered in 1922 by two scientists and was designated as ‘factor X’ in oils from vegetables. This discovery was published in a peer reviewed journal in 1922 under the name ‘Factor X and antisterility factor’. It was discovered that Vitamin E prevented the reabsorbtion of a fertilized egg. The name was changed to Vitamin E as the newly discovered factor followed on the heels of Vitamin D.
As the years progressed, so did the research on Vitamin E. The oil was isolated from wheat germ in 1936 and the structure of Vitamin E was described in 1938, the same year that the vitamin was first synthesized. Coronary heart disease was found to be avoided in part thanks to Vitamin E by doctors in Canada during the 1940s.
For years people have believed that adding vitamins through supplements is best. However, science has proved that gaining vitamins through the diet is easier for the body to absorb. There are eight types of vitamin E in nature, yet only one synthetic type which is typical in supplements. Vitamin E also works best when combined with certain other vitamins which could account for the success of its absorption when in food where it occurs with those vitamins.
Skin, Hair and Nails
The largest organ in the body is the skin. Because skin is constantly exposed to the elements, it can suffer from damage. This damage is often caused by ultraviolet light (UV). Vitamin E seems to allow certain molecules to impact a cell without leaving any damage behind. This vitamin in the diet may travel to skin cells and help protect them. When applied to the skin, Vitamin E prevents sun damage.
Nails and hair are made from keratin, and Vitamin E contributes to the healthy formation of both. Hair and nails appear stronger, have more luster, and grow faster when the vitamin is added to the diet. Cell membranes in the skin are repaired easier and are maintained better.
Some studies have noted there is a 50% reduction in certain cancers among people that include Vitamin E rich foods in their diets. Cellular structure is supported by the vitamin. When cancers form it is usually from a mutation of cells. Vitamin E can help prevent this by helping cells retain their normal structure. Two cancers that had a significant reduction in risk were bladder and prostate cancers.
While Vitamin E cannot cure cancer, helping avoid the onset of malignant tumors is an incredible step for people predisposed to cancer through genetic disposition or lifestyle choices. One well known function of vitamin E is its’ antioxidant properties. Vitamin E helps track down free radicals and escort them from the body.
Another benefit from Vitamin E is a large reduction in risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin supplements have had no effect on the risks, but Vitamin E from foods rich in the vitamin have shown to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by a staggering 67%. This result is heartening for people who may be at higher risk for the disease through family history. Vitamin E cannot reverse Alzheimer’s disease, though the addition of the vitamin in a patient’s diet will not cause harm.
Did you know that your body can rust? While humans do not develop red, flaky rust inside of their bodies, oxygen can cause cells to become over reactive. This damages the cell along with those around them and is called oxidative stress. A group of vitamins work together to keep oxygen from becoming too ‘wild’ in the body and damaging cells. Vitamin E works with vitamin C, vitamin B3, and selenium to stop this from happening.
There has been some suggestions that vitamin E can help the body fight off disease and reduce the possibility of developing certain conditions. These list of conditions is numerous. Due to the nature of vitamin E and the way it helps maintain cellular health, it is possible that vitamin E can play a role in fighting some diseases. Organ health is important in fighting disease and all organs can benefit from the addition of more vitamin E through the diet. The entire body is made of cells and science is beginning to find signs that vitamin E aids in cell ‘signaling’. This signaling is what allows cells to perform their functions and informs other cells that it is time to work.
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