food and nutrition

Vitamin E

Question: vitamin e? is it ok to apply vitamin e directly to the skin, specifically the face before going to sleep,and leave it there until morning?what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Answer: Maybe this is too much info but it is what you asked for. First of all we need to understand vitamin E is present in varying quantities in a whole host of plants like almonds, kiwi fruits, and mangos. Vitamin E consists of several natural compounds, including alpha, beta, delta, and gamma tocopherol. The combination of these vitamin E compounds is also known as mixed tocopherols. The vitamin E family is well known for its antioxidant capabilities. Antioxidants protect vital cell structures by neutralizing molecules called “free radicals”. Free radicals are unstable molecules produced from sources like air pollution, radiation, and peroxides. Free radical damage can occur throughout the body’s several systems and ultimately lead to many diseases. Antioxidants like vitamin E work to neutralize free radicals and stabilize cell membranes by providing the electrons needed to complete the unstable cell. Vital skin cells need to be protected by antioxidants. This is why the incorporation of antioxidants like vitamin E into skin care products is so important. Vitamin E skin care products are an essential part of a daily healthy skin regimen. Topical vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol or mixed tocopherols) has been shown to have a wide variety of skin benefits. Many studies have shown that vitamin E can help decrease the effects of psoriasis, erythema, and may help in reducing the risk of skin cancer. Vitamin E has also been shown to significantly help in the reduction of scaring from wounds and has been shown to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks on the skin. Importance of the Right Form of Vitamin E In spite of the fact that there are many different tocopherols, the alpha form has become synonymous with vitamin E since it has the highest bioactivity, especially when taken orally, and is the major form used in dietary supplements. It is very important to purchase vitamin E skincare products with the right form of vitamin E. Skin is a very complex system that protects the body against negative environmental stresses like pollutants, bacteria, UV radiation, and aging. Many of these stressors can induce free radical formation that damages DNA. To combat these negative aspects, vitamin E should be in its free alcohol form, and not in the blocked acetate form. Unfortunately, manufacturers have esterified or added chemical groups such as acetic acid, making alpha tocopherol acetate to increase the stability of alpha tocopherol. However, by doing this they have essentially blocked the active antioxidant site on alpha tocopherol. Therefore, it is disturbing that alpha tocopherol acetate is the form of vitamin E used in most commercial skin lotions and creams while the active mix of alpha tocopherol, beta tocopherol, gamma tocopherol, and delta tocopherol are not being utilized. Now, even if manufacturers use the correct form of vitamin E, it is usually used in very small amounts and only for labeling and marketing purposes. Additionally, alpha tocopherol in its free or blocked form is the main ingredient of choice due to its popularity in dietary supplements, while it is well known that gamma tocopherol and delta tocopherol have the highest in vitro antioxidant activity of the mixed tocopherol family. For these reasons, the vitamin E used in Soft-E-Care™ is mixed tocopherols, which has very high levels of gamma tocopherol and delta tocopherol. These all natural mixed tocopherols are in the free alcohol/active form and have been incorporated into the vitamin E hand lotion at high levels (above 5%). Benefit of Vitamin E, Clinical Studies In a study done at the Arizona Cancer Center, alpha tocopherol acetate was tested to see if it would be converted to the active free alcohol form, alpha tocopherol. While topically applied alpha tocopherol acetate (Tocopheryl Acetate) was significantly absorbed into the skin, there was no evidence of its conversion to the unesterified form (i.e. active free alpha tocopherol). There was no evidence of systemic availability or biotransformation of topically applied alpha-tocopherol acetate. Alpha tocopherol acetate was not metabolized to the free form of alpha tocopherol in plasma or skin in this study . In another study, researchers found that the topical application of alpha tocopherol acetate or succinate (esterified/blocked form) did not prevent UVB irradiation-induced skin cancer in hairless mice and may have enhanced the process. The esterified/blocked form (tocopheryl acetate) accumulated in the skin, but alpha tocopherol levels remained low. According to the researchers, study results suggest that the limited ability of skin to cleave esterified forms of vitamin E to the active alcohol form (i.e., alpha tocopherol) may explain the inability of vitamin E acetate or succinate to prevent UV-induced skin cancer. In a study of 20 women between 42 and 64 years of age, over one-half of the subjects showed a significant reduction in wrinkling and roughness associated with photoaging on the eyelid treated daily with the vitamin E containing cream for 4 weeks compared to the eyelid treated with placebo cream. The researchers noted that their results clearly showed that topical use of natural vitamin E induced smoothing of fine lines and wrinkles in a sensitive area of the face.

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