Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) is a fat-soluble compound that repairs dry, cracked skin when used as a cream or lotion. This vitamin helps skin retain moisture and is often added to sunscreens because it protects the skin against UVB damage.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects your body from the harmful effects of free radicals, which are molecules that have an unpaired electron. Because of this unpaired electron, free radicals seek out electrons from other cells, oxidizing them and damaging them and the tissues they form. Proper intake of vitamin E helps prevent and limit the damage caused by free radicals and oxidation. Vitamin E also improves the functioning of your immune system and assists in the expression of your genes.
Vitamin E prevents blood from clotting unnecessarily, lowering the risk of stroke or heart attack. It also helps to prevent LDL cholesterol from contributing to atherosclerosis. Vitamin E might also protect against cancer, since free radicals and their damaging effects may play a role in cancer development. However, studies into the effects of vitamin E on cancer rates are still inconclusive. Some studies even suggest vitamin E intake may put off or prevent cognitive delay or decline in the elderly due to the antioxidant effect on the brain's neurons.
You can get vitamin E through nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, and vegetable oils (such as soybean, canola, and corn). Vitamin E is also available in a variety of supplements and topical applications.
Next: an anti-aging vitamin with more pressing matters to tend to than the common cold.