Vitamin E is an essential fat-soluble vitamin, with antioxidant effects that help provide protection from the cell-damaging effects of free radicals. The type of vitamin E that your body can use is alpha-tocopherol. Vitamin E is found in a wide variety of foods, including whole grains, eggs and dark, leafy vegetables. The best way to obtain sufficient amounts of vitamin E is to eat a healthy diet known to contain rich sources of this antioxidant.
Boost Your Immune System
Antioxidants help prevent damage to your cells from some of the many toxins circulating through your body as a result of normal metabolism. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant as well as fulfilling the role of fat-soluble vitamin. One of the effects of vitamin E is a boost to your immune system. Increased vitamin E is especially effective in men over the age of 65 who have found that infections to their upper respiratory tract were reduced after taking vitamin E regularly.
Help Your Heart
The Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board stated on the National Institute of Health's website that vitamin E is well-known for its antioxidant properties as well as for increasing two enzymes that encourage prostacyclin to be released through the suppression of arachidonic acid metabolism, reducing platelet aggregation that could lead to cardiovascular disease.
Further research is required, as most of the current studies have been carried out on the alpha-tocopherol element of vitamin E rather than other forms of vitamin E processed in the liver. Some of these clinical studies are still undergoing; some are still inconclusive, although indications are that many kinds of heart disease are prevented with sufficient vitamin E in the diet.
Attack Free Radicals
Exercise is good for you, but damaging free radicals actually increase as a result of exercise. They are the toxic byproducts of metabolism, which can build up and damage cell tissue. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that has the capability of "mopping up" these free radicals.
A deficiency of vitamin E has been known to cause infertility in animals. The University of Michigan Health System discusses a clinical trial in which members of infertile couples each received 100 to 200iu of vitamin E each day. The doctor leading the study suggested that vitamin E reduces damage to the sperm cells caused by circulating free radicals. He noted that fertility increased in these couples after taking vitamin E supplements on a daily basis for a month. These same studies showed a marked reduction in oxidative stress to the sperm cells. Although these findings were positive, the studies concluded that further research is needed to establish a definitive link between increased fertility and vitamin E supplementation.