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Why your body – and beauty – needs vitamin E

02 Aug 2021 • 1 min read

Vitamin E has a number of roles in the body, from building healthy hair, skin and eyes, to supporting your immune system. So, what can it do for you?

What is vitamin E?

Vitamin E isn’t just one vitamin; it’s actually a group of fat-soluble compounds. There are eight different types of vitamin E, with alpha-tocopherol the most common form found throughout the body.

You can find vitamin E in foods such as nuts and seeds, avocados, wholegrains, and vegetable oils.1 

We store vitamin E in our bodies’ fatty tissues, so we don’t need to eat it every day.2

Why is vitamin E good for us?

Vitamin E has a range of functions, including bolstering our body’s defences and maintaining healthy skin and eyes.

A review by Indian researchers in 2014 found that taking 200mg of vitamin E every day could improve the immune system in healthy volunteers, while elderly people experienced increased resistance to viruses and a reduced number of infections over three years.3 

Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect cell membranes against free-radical damage.4 Oxidative stress has been linked to a number of conditions such as arthritis, ageing and heart disease.

Read more: Discover the best vitamins for healthy skin

It eases period discomfort

When you’re clutching a hot-water bottle to your stomach, it can feel like nothing relieves the misery of menstrual cramps.

But a study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2004 revealed that girls taking vitamin E supplements experienced less period discomfort and blood loss.5

Nearly 300 girls aged between 15 and 17 were given either 200mg of vitamin E or a placebo twice a day over four months. Those in the vitamin E group said both their menstrual discomfort, and the number of days they were in discomfort, reduced.

The study authors concluded that vitamin E inhibits the action of certain compounds in the body that can trigger menstrual discomfort.

Vitamin E and your beauty regime

There is a whole host of potential benefits to including vitamin E in your beauty routine.

A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2004 revealed that topical application of a gel containing vitamin E, among other vitamins, is ‘effective’ at reducing dark under-eye circles and wrinkles.7 

What’s more, vitamin E can help keep your locks looking lustrous. A 32-week trial by Malaysian scientists in 2010 found that a vitamin E supplement increased the amount of hair in volunteers suffering from hair loss, compared with those taking a placebo.8

The team say the reason vitamin E could stimulate hair growth is most likely down to its antioxidant properties, reducing oxidative stress in the scalp which has been linked to alopecia.

And finally, vitamin E is also good for your nails. According to a 2016 review published in the Indian Dermatology Online Journal, there is some evidence that vitamin E can tackle poor nails too,9 helping them grow stronger and straighter.

So why not add vitamin E to your beauty regime before splashing out on expensive salon treatments?

Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.

Last updated: 2 August 2021

Sources

  1. University of Maryland Medical Centre. Vitamin E. Available from: https://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-e
  2. Rizvi, S, et al. The Role of Vitamin E in Human Health and Some Diseases. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3997530/
  3. As above
  4. As above
  5. Ziaei S, Zakeri M, Kazemnijad A. A randomised controlled trial of vitamin E in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-0528.2004.00495.x/full
  6. Mitsuishi T, et al. The effects of topical application of phytonadione, retinol and vitamins C and E on infraorbital dark circles and wrinkles of the lower eyelids. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17147559/
  7. Beoy LA, et al. Effects of Tocotrienol Supplementation on Hair Growth in Human Volunteers. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3819075/
  8. Keen, MA, Hassan I. Vitamin E in Dermatology. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4976416/
 
bhupesh-panchal

Bhupesh Panchal

Author

Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019

Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry

Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.

After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
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