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A Closer Look at VITAMIN E

Vitamin E gets a lot of buzz. You may find it as an ingredient in your skin care products, in multivitamins sold by popular companies, in the form of a vitamin E serum, or simply as a capsule based supplement, but why the hype? What does it actually do for our bodies and why are these companies using vitamin E in their products?


Vitamin E is actually a collective name for a group of fat-soluble (dissolving in fat) compounds that have antioxidant properties. There are eight chemical forms of Vitamin E: alpha-, beta-, gamma-, delta-tocopherol and alpha-, beta-, gamma, and delta-tocotrienol. Alpha-tocopherol is the only form of Vitamin E that has been known to meet human requirements, although they all have varying levels of biological activity. When you ingest vitamin E, your liver metabolizes and excretes the other seven forms of Vitamin E, meaning that the concentration of alpha-tocopherol is higher in the blood. Because of this disparity in prevalence in the blood, alpha-tocopherol has been subject to more research than the other forms of vitamin E. (cite)


Vitamin E has antioxidant properties, meaning that it protects cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are atoms or molecules that have an unshared electron which makes them highly reactive. They cause damage when they try to take electrons from our cells in a process called oxidation. You may have heard of oxidation in terms of food: when food oxidizes (or undergoes the process of losing electrons to free radicals) it deteriorates in quality and may smell or taste bad. For example, when you leave a sliced apple on the counter it will turn brown, this is oxidation. Antioxidants like rosemary extract and tocopherols may be added to foods to counteract this oxidation extending the shelf life of a product.

In humans, oxidation and the harm caused by free radicals can lead to cardiovascular disease and cancer. According to the National Institute of Health, we are exposed to free radicals through our environments and through factors like cigarette smoke, air pollution, and UV radiation from the sun. When these free radicals take an electron from our body’s cells, our  energetic electrons react rapidly with oxygen and form reactive oxygen species or ROS. ROS may damage cells, and antioxidants protect cells from these damaging effects. Vitamin E in particular stops the production of ROS when fat undergoes oxidation. Currently research is being done to see if vitamin E can help to prevent or delay chronic diseases associated with free radicals (cite). 

According to the NIH, vitamin E is also important to immune function and cell signaling, regulation of gene expression, and other metabolic processes. Alpha-tocopherol helps reduce the activity of a protein called kinase C, which is an enzyme that contributes to cell proliferation and differentiation in smooth muscle cells, platelets, and monocytes. Additionally, vitamin E increases the expression of enzymes that suppress arachidonic acid metabolism, dilating blood vessels and inhibiting platelet aggregation. Essentially, vitamin E may help to widen blood vessels and keep blood from clotting. 

Now, you may be wondering why it's in your skin care products. Because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, applying it to your skin after UV exposure may support the prevention of skin damage caused by the free radicals in UV light. Topical vitamin E reduces UV induced skin problems, like swelling, thickness, erythema, and edema. So, perhaps next time you get sunburnt, consider applying some vitamin E to your burnt skin along with the aloe to keep your skin supple and well nourished(cite). And it definitely can't hurt to continue to apply or consume Vitamin E daily to improve your skin health and to keep your skin soft and youthful. 


After reading all about the amazing benefits of vitamin E you may look into purchasing a vitamin E supplement or skin care product. Keep in mind, any product with synthetically produced vitamin E (commonly labeled as dl-alpha tocopherol) will most likely be much less potent than naturally sourced vitamin E (commonly labeled as d-alpha-tocopherol). 1 mg of naturally sourced vitamin E is as strong as 2 mg of synthetic vitamin E, so looking for natural sources will get you a higher quality more potent vitamin E. Chocho is one of these amazing natural sources! One serving of Mikuna Chocho Superfood Protein has 3mg of vitamin E, or 20% of your daily value. Additionally, vitamin E consumed via chocho will be absorbed more into your system because chocho has fat in it, and the digestive tract requires fat to absorb vitamin E fully. You can also make a vitamin E rich face mask using Mikuna Chocho Superfood Protein Original, just add some water and apply to your face. Add some almond meal or sugar for a more exfoliating effect. In adding chocho to your daily routine you can rest assured that you are consuming natural, plant based, regenerative, bioactive vitamin E in addition to protein, healthy fats, fiber, calcium and magnesium. 


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