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How does Vitamin E support your immune system?

How does Vitamin E support your immune system?

Vitamin E is an essential vitamin for your body and, alongside other nutrients, helps to protect our bodies against potential illness and infection. This means ensuring that we do all we can to give our immune system a boost. One way to do this is by ensuring that our bodies receive the right amount of nutrients we need to thrive.

This guide will discuss the benefits of Vitamin E, the best sources and how supplements can support your immune system.

In this guide:

This section discusses the important of Vitamin E for a healthy body.

Vitamin E has a wide range of benefits – find out more in this section.

Fruit, vegetables and nuts are great sources of Vitamin E

Find out more about the best vitamin supplement to take to increase Vitamin E

Learn more about the required dosages of Vitamin E

Want to know more about the main symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency? This section discusses it in more detail.

What is Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, also known as tocopherol. Tocopherol’s are a group of antioxidants with Vitamin E activity, often found in skincare and dietary supplements that help to scavenge free radicals, boost immunity and protect the body from oxidative stress.

It has distinctive antioxidant qualities which, in addition to supporting a healthy immune system, is involved in cell signaling, regulation of gene expression and other metabolic processes.

More simply, Vitamin E is a naturally occurring vitamin that can be found in numerous foods and plants but is also readily available in numerous forms and as an over the counter vitamin supplementation. Its primarily known as a powerful antioxidant, though studies have connected proper Vitamin E consumption to a range of other health benefits.

The key benefits of Vitamin E

Supports immune system

Vitamin E supports your body’s immune function by supporting the growth of t cells. The role of the t cell is to fight infection by fighting against infected cells and activating other immune cells for an effective immune response. As a result, Vitamin E is a necessary tool in helping your body fight off (and prevent) infections.

Acts as an antioxidant

Vitamin E also has strong antioxidant qualities. Its antioxidant qualities mean it can easily help to support hair growth and healthy skin by reducing cells damage and ensuring that your hair stays sleek and shiny. This also has a similar effect on your skin, ensuring that it stays smooth and blemish-free. In fact, you may notice that many of your skincare products contain extra Vitamin E.

Key sources of Vitamin E

As we have already mentioned, there are numerous reasons as to why you should try and increase the amount of Vitamin E you consume (within healthy limits). Luckily, it is readily available in numerous forms.

Nuts and seeds:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pistachios
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Brazil nuts

Fruits:

  • Avocado
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Blackberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Raspberries

Vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Butternut squash
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Green beans
  • Green leafy vegetables

Vitamin E supplements

Vitamin E supplementation can be purchased in the form of tablets from many retailers. Often, they can be purchased in conjunction with other necessary nutrients, such as multi-vitamin tablets, which also contain Vitamin D and, Vitamin B12 and other B vitamins. Taking a Vitamin E supplement can contribute to your overall health as well as helping to contribute to immune function.

Oral supplements

Vitamin E supplementation can also be taken in the form of an oral spray for those who struggle or dislike swallowing tablets and want a more convenient method of boosting their vitamin intake.

How does Vitamin E affect your immune system?

As stated above, Vitamin E supports your immune system by assisting with t cell production which is essential for effective immune response. T cells support immune function and a deficiency can have a negative impact on bodily function.

Most importantly, Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. To better understand antioxidants, we must first understand why they are needed and how they work.

Every cell contains three main defences against oxidation:

  • Prevention – each cell prevents free radicals from forming by inactivating catalysts and removing precursors of the free radicals
  • Interception – each cell consists of chain-breaking antioxidants (such as vitamin C) that scavenge free radicals to stop them from damaging the lipid membranes of the cells
  • Repair – cells rely on enzymes to help repair DNA or remove damaged parts that cannot be repaired. In some cases, this process resulting in apoptosis (programmed cell death) so that genetically damaged cells cannot grow.

Our body naturally creates ‘free radicals’ which are oxidized molecules which travel around the body and can cause harm. In order to fight these free radicals, our bodies must make antioxidants. However, sometimes it is simply not possible for our bodies to produce the necessary antioxidants it requires to fight infection. This results in oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free agents and antioxidants which can be incredibly damaging to the body and can cause oxidative damage.

During oxidative stress, reactive oxygen species that are generated in the mitochondria cause electrons to leak out and stimulate the overproduction of superoxide radicals. If the body does not have enough antioxidant protection to neutralise these toxins, the lipid layers of cells can be damaged which can disrupt their integrity. This can cause an imbalance of vitamins/minerals and amino acids, DNA damage and protein oxidation which causes aging.

This is where antioxidants such as Vitamin E come into play. Therefore, it is fair to argue that Vitamin E consumption will, in fact, support your immune system.

How much Vitamin E should I take?

As with all supplements, the amount you should consume in order to stay healthy alters due to a number of variables including age, gender and weight. A vitamin supplement can help to keep your body functioning as it should and help to prevent infection.

Vitamin E supplementation can be taken to ensure the following daily recommended dosages:

Age/situation Males Females
0-6 months 4mg 4mg
7-12 months 5mg 5mg
1-3 years 6mg 6mg
4-8 years 7mg 7mg
9-13 years 11mg 11mg
14+ years 15mg 15mg

As the amount of Vitamin E required for proper bodily function is not a high dose, most people are able to maintain levels in their body with dietary Vitamin E. However, if you feel as though you are suffering from a Vitamin E related deficiency, you can take a variety of supplements to help replenish your body’s supply.

What are the symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency?

It important to note that Vitamin E deficiency is quite rare due to the fact that most men, women and children are able to acquire the necessary amounts through their diet.

Despite this, some people are more prone than others to developing a deficiency and, as such, it is important to be able to identify symptoms and resolve the issue as quickly as possible with dietary supplements. After all, if untreated, a Vitamin E deficiency can limit the functioning of your immune system and other bodily functions, leading to poor health.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Nerve and muscle damage
  • Muscle weakness and lethargy
  • Loss of feeling in arms and legs

However, with regular Vitamin E supplementation, as well as dietary changes, can help to resolve these issues quickly.

In short, there are many reasons why you should consider taking Vitamin E supplements or tablets. They work effectively in fighting infections such as the influenza virus or another viral infection to help keep your body happy and healthy.

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