Vitamin E is one of the fat-soluble vitamins, and the benefits of vitamin E oil are well documented. Vitamin E oil can be used both topically for beauty and skin health, and can also be taken orally as a vitamin supplement. Most supplements simply contain vitamin E oil encased in an edible capsule. There are also plenty of foods that contain vitamin E.
What is Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a micronutrient. Unlike macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates, and fats, micronutrients are the indispensable vitamins and minerals your body needs to function.
According to the American Dietetic Association, the main function of vitamin E is to act as an antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage done by free radicals. Free radicals are byproducts of metabolism. They come out of your cells and just kind of loiter around. If they build up too much, they can eventually lead to chronic diseases like cancer. Vitamin E can not only defend your cells against these harmful molecules, it can actually scoop them up and shoo them out of the body.
How Much Vitamin E Should You Get Per Day?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that most Americans do not get enough vitamin E from diet alone. However, most people rarely show signs of insufficient vitamin E levels. The NIH still recommends getting your daily requirement of 15mg per day.
Benefits of Vitamin E Oil
While you may have heard that vitamin E oil can help with dozens of conditions, the jury is still out on many of these. Here are five proven benefits of taking vitamin E oil supplements, or using them topically.
Effective Treatment for Eczema
A study review conducted by the Indian Dermatology Online Journal (IDOJ) suggests vitamin E oil supplements may be an effective treatment for those who suffer from eczema. Eczema is a chronic condition of the skin that causes redness, scaling, and thickening of the skin. Itching is the most common and annoying symptom related to eczema. Conventional medications used to treat eczema are many, but they can cause side effects. The use of vitamin E oil to treat eczema is very promising because there are no known side effects associated with it.
According to the IDOJ's study review, the same factors that make vitamin E oil so effective against eczema also make it a powerful natural moisturizer. Your skin gets dry for many reasons, but vitamin E oil can protect your skin from UV rays and lock in moisture. Vitamin E oil permeates the first layer of your skin, protecting all layers from dehydration.
A vitamin E serum or lotion is an easy way to get these skin-loving benefits. You can also mix 2-3 drops of oil from a vitamin E capsule with 10 drops of coconut or almond oil and smooth the mixture onto your skin.
Protect Your Liver
Some studies have shown vitamin E oil can slow liver disease. By taking 800IU (international units) orally per day for 96 days, study participants were found to have less liver disease progression than the group who took a placebo. When your liver suffers, it grows hard areas (fibrosis) throughout its tissue. Researchers have shown that vitamin E can improve these areas, decreasing symptoms of liver disease in some.
Heal and Prevent Chapped Lips
Since it's a great moisturizer, vitamin E oil makes a great lip salve. It's safe to use, undiluted, directly on your lips. Squeeze a drop or two from a capsule and massage into your lips, using as often as needed. This is especially effective in the winter when the cold weather dehydrates your lips.
Heal Cold Sores Faster
The IDOJ study review found that vitamin E along with vitamin C and zinc can reduce healing time for any type of wound. It does this by protecting the cells from free radicals, giving them space and time to build tissue back up. This concept applies to cold sores too: applying products with vitamin E can help speed their healing.
Add More Vitamin E to Your Routine
The NIH tells us that adults need 15mg of vitamin E per day. If you're breastfeeding, that goes up to 19mg per day. You can find vitamin E in these food sources:
- Vegetable oils
- Nuts and seeds
- Green vegetables like spinach and broccoli
Food is always the best way to get your micronutrients, but if you can't get enough through what you eat, some healthcare providers will recommend supplements.
Stay Safe with Supplements
Vitamin E oil supplements usually come as capsules or drops. The capsules are yellow, clear, and filled with vitamin E oil. Drops can be added to drinks and food, or put directly in your mouth.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements in the same way that they do medications. Because of this, supplements may not go through the same quality control measures. Be sure to research your supplements well and only start using a new supplement after discussing it with your healthcare provider.
When using vitamin E oil topically, the best time to apply it to your skin is at night, after a warm shower or bath. If you are concerned about whether your intake of vitamin E is adequate or about how to use it topically, please speak with a licensed healthcare provider.