Every life form on the planet that consumes oxygen needs vitamin E to survive. While humans naturally consume many foods containing this vitamin, we are undoubtedly the only life form that also applies it topically in lotions and oils. Interestingly, using external application of Vitamin E along with a good intake of this vitamin through food supposedly increases its therapeutic and cosmetic effect. Vitamin E is regarded as a potent stimulant of the immune system and can help the body defend itself against viral infection.
- Vitamin E is an important anti-oxidant or "protector vitamin" found mainly in plant foods.
- It protects cells from damage by free radicals which may be triggered by smoking or pollution.
- It prolongs the life of red blood cells,
- There is evidence that Vitamin E helps protect against heart disease.
Although rare, it is sometimes seen in premature babies and those who have endured extended digestive upsets which have prevented the absorption of fat from the diet. Vitamin E deficiency can also adversely affect nerve cells and muscle fibres.
Widely distributed in foods in small amts the highest levels are found in polyunsaturated seed oils, wheatgerm, and in polyunsaturated margarine and reduced-fat spreads. Avocados, broccoli, asparagus and other leafy greens, egg yolk and tuna are good sources.
If we increase the proportion of polyunsaturated oils in our diet in place of some of the saturated fat then our need for vitamin E also increases.
Adult: 7 - 12.5 mg per day
Children aged 8-11 yrs: 8 mg per day
Children aged 12-15 yrs: 9 - 10.5 mg per day
Children and teenagers 16 - 18 yrs: 8 - 11 mg per day