Vitamin E plays an important role in skin and eye health and immune system function. Supplemental vitamin E has become increasingly popular as the power of antioxidants is learned. Antioxidants protect your cells from damage and can reduce the risk of serious disease. 

Vitamin E deficiency is rare, but it is important to maintain healthy levels. As a lipid-soluble vitamin, it is commonly missing in low-fat diets. Vitamin E plays a significant role in the immune defense system, and without it, your risk for chronic illness can increase.

Health Benefits of Vitamin E

The benefits of vitamin E come mostly from its antioxidant properties. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are produced as a result of regular metabolic processes. Your immune system uses free radicals to fight infection. 

They can also damage cells, increasing the risk of disease. It is, therefore, important to maintain a balance to keep free radical activity under control. Antioxidants, like vitamin E, scavenge excess free radicals to keep their activity restricted to essential functions. 

Vitamin E is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. While the immune system uses inflammation to fight infections, chronic levels can be dangerous. Vitamin E has been found to reduce inflammation in a way that lowers the risk of inflammatory diseases. 

Vitamin E and Your Immune System

Although vitamin E benefits several systems in the body, it is found primarily in the immune cells. Therefore, it is believed to be one of the most important and effective nutrients for immune system function and health. 

Deficiencies are rare, but in cases where vitamin E levels are low, normal immune function is impaired. When levels are maintained through supplementation, immune function is enhanced, and the risk of disease is reduced. 

T cells are major players in your immune system. They directly kill infected cells to defend against disease. By directly impacting T cell membrane integrity, division, and signaling, vitamin E enhances this defense. 

In the early stages of a disease, there are not enough T cells to identify the pathogen. It takes time to identify the pathogen, clone themselves, and overwhelm the infection. Because free radicals are also produced in immune responses, some T cells are damaged in the process. 

This oxidative damage contributes to a weakened immune response. Vitamin E has been found to moderate activities of free radicals and strengthens T cell membranes against this damage. As a result, the immune system can function efficiently, and free radical damage is kept in check. T cells are able to perform their job and remove the infection. 

Vitamin E also works in conjunction with vitamin C. Together, they enhance the health of immune cells so as to generate a stronger immune response. The immunomodulatory mechanisms of vitamin E support other antioxidants in boosting pathogen defenses and reducing the risk of infection and disease.

Additional Benefits of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a significant component of immune system function and health, but it also provides benefits throughout your body. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of this vitamin make it beneficial to your overall health and well-being.

Eye protection: As a result of constant exposure to the environment and harmful lights, the eyes are also exposed to heavy levels of oxidative damage. As an antioxidant, vitamin E protects your eyes from this and reduces the risk of cataract, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. 

Improved heart health: Free radical damage and chronic inflammation are linked to blood vessel damage and an increased risk of heart disease. Vitamin E reduces this risk by reducing inflammation and neutralizing free radicals. Specifically, vitamin E lowers cholesterol levels in a way that reduces the risk of blocked arteries and stroke or heart attack. 

Protect your brain: Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative conditions involve loss of memory and cognitive function. There is no cure. However, a link between this degeneration and inflammatory and free radical damage is well known. The ability of vitamin E to fight the inflammation and reduce oxidative damage can help protect the brain. Studies have shown that vitamin E can reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disease or slow the progression. 

Taking Vitamin E

Vitamin E is considered safe to take as a supplement. Certain diets, such as a low-fat diet, can cause a deficiency, at which point supplements become necessary. 

The recommended dietary allowance for adults is 15 mg per day. You should never take more than 1,000 mg daily. Always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements. Buy only from a trusted brand that contains clinically proven ingredients. 

When taken according to medical advice, vitamin E is considered safe for consumption. Taking higher than recommended doses can increase the risk of side effects, such as:

♦ Nausea
♦ Abdominal cramps
♦ Diarrhea
♦ Fatigue
♦ Weakness
♦ Headaches
♦ Blurred vision
♦ Rash

Warnings with Vitamin E

Individuals with diabetes are advised to stay within daily allowed limits for vitamin E, as there is a risk for heart failure at very high doses. If you are pregnant, you should also consult your doctor before taking a vitamin E supplement.

It is advised to always discuss any supplemental use with your doctor. Taking doses that exceed recommendations also increases your risk of harmful side effects. Although safe to use, vitamin E may interact with other medications or supplements you are taking.

The following medications may have interactions with vitamin E supplements. Consult your doctor if you take any of the following:

Cancer medications: Vitamin E may reduce the effectiveness of certain chemotherapy medications. 

Anticoagulants: Vitamin E may slow blood clotting, so when taken with anticoagulant medications, there is a risk of excessive bleeding.

Niacin: This is often taken to improve good cholesterol levels, but when taken with vitamin E, these levels may be reduced.

Statins: Cholesterol-lowering medications may not be as effective when taken with vitamin E.

The Bottom Line

Vitamin E is a valuable and beneficial nutrient. Known to boost eye, heart, and brain health, this vitamin enhances overall well-being. Beyond this, vitamin E plays an essential role in protecting immune cells from damage, so they can fortify a strong defense against disease.

It is important to maintain vitamin E levels in your body. Without this, your immune system can weaken, leaving you vulnerable to infections. Supplemental vitamin E supports a healthy mind and body and boosts your immunity whenever you need it most.