A hot flash can be described as a sensation of intense warmth across the body that may be associated with sweating, cold shivers and redness of the skin. Hot flashes occur during the day and sometimes at night as well, causing interrupted and unrefreshed sleep. Although more research is needed to assess the benefits of using vitamin E for hot flash relief, some clinical studies show that vitamin E may help women with mild symptoms.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties, protecting against damage to the cell membranes and boosting the immune system. Vitamin E supports optimal nerve and muscle function, and a shortage of this nutrient may cause poor balance, neurological symptoms and increased risk for getting infections. This vitamin may also offer relief in women experiencing hot flashes.
A study conducted by N. Biglia and colleagues, published in the August 2009 issue of the "Journal of the International Menopause Society," assessed the efficacy of vitamin E compared with the conventional drug gabapentin in treating hot flashes in breast cancer survivors. Women who took vitamin E experienced a reduction of hot flashes frequency by 10 percent. The researchers concluded that vitamin E showed some improvement in relieving hot flashes; however, the improvement was inferior to that found in subjects treated with the conventional drug.
Another study published in the April 2008 issue of "Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy" evaluated the benefits of various therapies for hot flashes. Although the review of the researched studies yielded mixed results regarding the benefits of herbs and natural supplements for this condition, the research suggests that vitamin E and herbs such soy, red clover and black cohosh are safe supplements and may be considered in treating women with mild menopausal symptoms that are not enough controlled by lifestyle changes.
The daily dosage of vitamin E for adults is between 100 and 400 international units daily, but higher doses may be needed for hot flashes relief. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, the upper level of vitamin E intake considered safe is 1,500 IU daily for adults.
Nutrient and Drug Interactions
Vitamin E works closely with other nutrients, such as vitamin C and selenium. Vitamin E may interact with drugs such as blood thinners and cholesterol-lowering agents.
Consult a qualified practitioner to find out if you may benefit from taking vitamin E for hot flashes, as well as optimal dosage and possible interactions with drugs and herbal supplements.