For BEAUTY, the vitamin E family shields the skin against UV damage and aging, and brings potent skin protection and antioxidant benefits. Rich quantities of vitamin E naturally occur in skin, where it is a nutritive for maintaining smoothness and tone. Deficiency of vitamin E within the skin worsens the chances of wrinkles. Used topically, vitamin E helps to heal scars and ease stretch marks. Taken internally, the anti-inflammatory actions of the vitamin E family of tocopherols and tocotrienols can reduce eczema. Vitamin E’s hormone-balancing effects further encourage radiant, healthy skin and hair.
How does the Vitamin E family enhance beauty?
The vitamin E family nourishes and protects skin to enhance youthfulness and beauty in four main ways:
- As a powerful antioxidant, the vitamin E family protects the skin and underlying connective tissues from degradation. It is effective at combating free radicals that are natural by-products of normal food metabolism and of the removal of environmental toxins from the body.
- Vitamin E absorbs the energy from ultraviolet (UV) light, so it is photo-protective, preventing UV-induced free radical damage to skin. UV light, sun exposure and aging deplete vitamin E in the skin, leaving tissues vulnerable to free radical damage. Taking extra vitamin E replenishes the skin’s supply.
- It reduces inflammation and related conditions including eczema. In addition to skin health, the vitamin E family supports the immune system and cell function.
- In addition, the vitamin E family has key roles in maintaining hormonal balance, including stable levels of estrogen and other female hormones, testosterone in men, and thyroid hormone output. Optimal levels of each of these hormones reduces vulnerability to acne, dry skin, and wrinkles, and encourages smooth skin, good circulation and color, and rapid healing of skin blemishes.
What is the Vitamin E family?
The vitamin E family, also known as mixed natural vitamin E, is made up of a group of eight constituents. Every one of them has specific biological actions, and they work together in nature to enhance each other’s benefits. There are two chemically related categories known as tocopherols and tocotrienols, each of which has important cardiovascular, hormone, immune and antioxidant activity in the body. The vitamin E family members include d-alpha, d-beta, d-gamma and d-delta tocopherols, and the alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocotrienols. D-alpha tocopherol is one of the more abundant members of the vitamin E family, although all eight forms of vitamin E need each other to work effectively, and their bioavailability to the body is greater as a group than if only the d-alpha variant is used.
All members of the vitamin E family enhance beauty by helping to clear metabolic waste and free radicals, and by supporting blood flow and endocrine function. The natural tocopherols have documented benefits as hormone modulators, antioxidants, and immune supporters with anti-inflammatory properties. The alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocotrienols bring additional circulation and blood sugar benefits that tocopherols lack.
“Studies that showed little benefit from vitamin E too often used only alpha-tocopherol, and missed the other important tocopherols and tocotrienols. Synthetic dl-type of tocopherols should be avoided, they may not be safe, have no health uses, and result in ineffective studies. We caution patients to avoid unnatural dl-vitamin E.”
Dr. Rachelle Herdman, Custom Health Guide
Antioxidants including the vitamin E family are natural substances that shield all tissues from scavenging free radicals, reduce oxidative stress and cell damage, and decrease harmful lipid peroxides. They boost our cellular levels of glutathione and superoxide dismutase and catalase enzymes, which protect against oxidative damage. These enzymes block assault on cells from superoxide, a major one of the reactive oxygen species that form during metabolism. Higher tissue levels of antioxidants also offset environmental oxidative injury to skin from sun or pollutants, and they are protective against many chronic ailments including heart disease, diabetes, cataracts, macular degeneration, and arthritis.
Antioxidants play a potent role in boosting radiant natural beauty by protecting the integrity of the skin, eyes, and internal organs. They help to reduce the signs of aging, wrinkles, and sun damage, and to enhance a smooth, youthful complexion.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that form when atoms or molecules gain or lose electrons. They are naturally produced during normal metabolic processes, such as clearing cellular waste, exercise, mounting an inflammatory response; or from exposure to external environmental sources such as air pollutants, drugs, and industrial chemicals. These unstable free radicals, including reactive oxygen species, have unpaired electrons: They roam the body seeking other atoms or molecules to bond to. If they attach to tissues, these rogue free radicals can cause injury called oxidative stress to cells, lipids, proteins, and DNA. By the middle twentieth century, one of the leading theories of impaired cellular function and aging identified that ongoing oxidative stress can cause lasting damage to skin, muscles, organs, and cells.
A balance between free radicals and antioxidants such as vitamin E to neutralize them is necessary for natural beauty and healthy physiological function. Free radicals are constantly produced, and the body normally makes abundant antioxidants to handle them. But if the number of free radicals overwhelms the body’s innate antioxidant mechanisms to disempower these unstable compounds, then oxidative stress eventually results in permanent skin degradation, lines and sagging, slower metabolism, tissue breakdown, and wrinkles. If oxidative damage is not curbed, flabby and drooping tissues, fluid retention and puffy eyelids, brittle hair, and higher risks of degenerative disorders can follow.
Experts consider vitamin E to be a very important antioxidant that protects cell membranes and prevents damage to enzymes associated with them. It reduces free radical injury to hair follicles, internal organs, the heart, and the cholesterol molecule. This enhances the whole metabolism, helping with energy and healthy fat balance in skin and other tissues, and improved clearing of the body’s waste.
The Vitamin E family in our tissues
Vitamin E is naturally found in generous amounts in human skin. It is the most abundant lipophilic (fat loving) antioxidant in the skin, where levels of vitamin E in the epidermis are higher than the dermis. The epidermis is the surface of the skin facing the outside world; the dermis is the thick layer of tissue below which contains blood capillaries, nerve endings, sweat glands, hair follicles, and other structures. Although the predominant form of vitamin E in the skin of unsupplemented individuals is alpha-tocopherol, skin also contains measurable amounts of gamma-tocopherol and other diet-derived tocopherols and tocotrienols.
For healthy, gorgeous skin, the vitamin E family has a primary antioxidant role leading to smooth, radiant skin. Given the skin’s natural content of this vitamin, raising the levels of the vitamin E family can enhance beautiful texture, protect against oxidative and UV damage, and delay wrinkles and aging.
How does the Vitamin E family work in the body?
The vitamin E family has the important ability to absorb UV rays. The use of vitamin E in the prevention of UV-induced damage has been extensively studied. Since the vitamin E family can absorb light in the UVB spectrum it has a powerful photoprotective effect. This saves the skin from sun damage, and appears to be an extra benefit in addition to the role of vitamin E as a lipid-soluble antioxidant.1
Exposure to UV light or ozone lowers the vitamin E content in skin, and so being in the sun warrants replenishing with extra vitamin E intake. Concentrations of vitamin E in the human epidermis also decline with age. The accompanying epidermal structure changes may be due to increased UV penetration of this layer, which is one reason for wrinkle formation.
In vitro cell culture research has verified many protective effects of the vitamin E family on skin cells. The results of one 2007 study indicated that alpha-tocopherol protects human skin fibroblasts–important connective tissue cells which make the fiber content of fascia and support tissues–against the cytotoxic effect of UVB light. The mechanism seems to be related to inhibiting UV-induced lipid peroxidation, or damage to fatty acids from free radicals, as well as the antioxidation effect of the vitamin E family.2 Another important study exposed skin cells to UVB light and measured antioxidant enzyme activity, as well as cell lifespan, with or without supplemental vitamin E. The findings show that vitamin E is a promising protective agent against UVB-induced damage, and it increases skin cell longevity.3
The Vitamin E family is considered to be a significant anti-inflammatory agent in the skin. There are many research reports of vitamin E being used successfully in chronic inflammatory skin conditions. Vitamin E can improve the immune cell-fighting response, decrease the production and release of inflammatory mediators, and lower the serum levels of antibodies produced by the immune system. These actions can all help to reduce acne, rosacea flare-ups, and inflammatory skin blemishes. It is noteworthy that as vitamin E is also such a powerful antioxidant, researchers find that a stand-alone anti-inflammatory action adds to an antioxidant action that in itself can prevent inflammation from initially occurring.
An important 2002 study compared the effects of a vitamin E intake of 400 IU per day compared to placebo on 96 subjects with atopic dermatitis, or eczema. Over 8 months, more than half of the individuals who received vitamin E showed great improvement, some achieving complete remission of atopic dermatitis, while the placebo brought no significant improvement. The researchers concluded that vitamin E was an excellent therapeutic measure for eczema.4
The Vitamin E family has numerous hormone-balancing benefits that enhance radiant, clear skin, strong and shiny hair, optimal weight and muscle tone, and restorative beauty sleep. It has important effects for menopausal symptoms and female hormones, men’s health and hormones, and for stabilizing thyroid function.
The Vitamin E family for Women
For women’s beauty during menopause, the vitamin E family helps to offset lowered estrogen output and to counteract the resulting puffy complexion and increased wrinkles. Sleep disruption often results in dark eye circles, dull skin, and weight gain. Estrogens are important nutritive hormones for many female body systems. The Vitamin E family encourages and stabilizes healthy estrogen levels, and magnifies the helpful actions of even low levels of the body’s own estrogens. Better temperature regulation and fewer hot flashes plus more sleep lead to higher energy and ability to exercise, along with fewer mood changes and improved mental clarity. These effects all enhance beauty inside and out, with shiny eyes, healthy skin, shapely and firm body contours, and a cheerful demeanor and expression.
The Vitamin E family for Men
For men’s health and good looks, overall the vitamin E family has several benefits: It supports healthy skin and muscle tone, heart health, and reduces inflammation, allowing for easier exercise with better strength development. Vitamin E enhances a vibrant libido, good erectile capacity, and resulting emotional wellbeing. It also helps prevent prostate enlargement.
The vitamin E family promotes the creation of substances called prostaglandins, as well as testosterone. Stable male hormones support clear skin, strong toned muscles, stamina during exercise, and optimal weight, all leading to handsome appearance and emotional wellbeing. They enhance vigorous blood flow to a man’s pelvic organs, muscles, and brain, to support strength, potency, and mental stamina. Vitamin E is crucial for production of male sex hormones, and it brings powerful testosterone-protective and vital antioxidant effects for the health of all of a man’s organs. It helps assure good blood flow throughout the body, and a lively libido.
The mixed natural vitamin E family of nutrients all contribute to better perfusion of a man’s body, skin, muscles, and male organs, working together to improve blood flow, prevent clots, and to open blood vessels. Vitamin E protects skin and muscles from oxidative damage. It is known to help erectile dysfunction, and to act as a nerve protector for the brain, limbs, and pelvic nerves. Population studies show that deficient vitamin E levels increase the risk of oxidative injury to all organs, immune tissues, and the digestive system and lungs. In addition, vitamin E family can calm inflammation: The tocotrienols in particular can reduce levels of C-reactive protein and cytokines, which if unchecked could cause inflammatory damage to blood vessels and skin circulation. These actions all contribute to a man’s healthy skin and body contours, strong joints and muscles, and more stable sexual function, ultimately enhancing radiant good looks and a sense of wellbeing.
For prostate health, the vitamin E family can slow the growth of an enlarged prostate by correcting prostaglandin synthesis. This results in better sleep because of improved bladder emptying, less frequency and urgency, and less overnight urination. More rest enhances smooth skin, eradicates puffy under-eye bags, and helps a man with tissue repair after exercise, improving muscle definition. The vitamin E family members are important antioxidants that reduce peroxides from forming and damaging all body tissues. Also, the Vitamin E tocotrienols reduce inflammation and stabilize any atherosclerotic plaques that may form, improving blood flow to the skin, muscles, heart and brain.
Thyroid benefits from the Vitamin E family
Strong thyroid function encourages beauty for men and women in numerous ways: Thyroid hormones assure soft, well-hydrated skin with fewer wrinkles and reduce dryness. Optimal thyroid hormone levels keep hair lustrous and growing abundantly, and support achieving an ideal weight, reducing flab and gaining good muscle tone. For the thyroid, the vitamin E family of mixed natural tocopherols and tocotrienols supports the production of the most active form of thyroid hormone in the body, T3. This hormone is made from T4, or thyroxine, released by the thyroid gland. The generation of T3 can be blocked by heavy metals, environmental pollutants, and oxidative damage to cell membrane lipids. Vitamin E has an antioxidant and protective properties to facilitate T3 formation; and also to shield the thyroid gland from environmental pollutant damage.
Our patients’ experience with the Vitamin E family
In our clinic we see the best results for beautiful skin, hair, vitality, and hormonal support with mixed natural vitamin E, including all the tocopherols and tocotrienols that work synergistically together, as they occur in nature. Regarding occasional media reports, our view is that any safety concerns apply solely to the synthetic dl-forms which do not exist in nature, e.g. dl-alpha, mirror images of naturally occurring vitamin E. These unnatural isomers may actually be detrimental and block the beneficial d-forms from entering cells.
We recommend only the eight-constituent mixed natural form, preferably with generous enough amounts of the tocotrienols to be effective. We look for a guaranteed non-GMO formula in an absorbable and gentle natural base such as sunflower oil.
Our patients who take mixed natural vitamin E regularly tell us that they notice smoother skin with less roughness or eruptions, reduced eczema symptoms, and less sun damage over time. They also comment upon improvements related to hormone balance including better immune resistance, increased stamina for exercise and resulting better body contours and natural radiance and good looks.
Recommendation: Mixed natural vitamin E family, including proportions such as d-alpha tocopherol 400 IU (268mg), d-Gamma tocopherol 100mg, d-Beta and d-Delta tocopherol 40mg. Ideally we also like to have tocotrienols of 20mg, including proportions like gamma tocotrienol 12mg or more, alpha tocotrienol 5 to 8 mg, beta and delta tocotrienols 2 to 4 mg. Take 400 IU (268mg) once or twice daily with any meals, or as directed by your healthcare provider.
- Kagan V, Witt E, Goldman R, Scita G, Packer L. Ultraviolet light-induced generation of vitamin E radicals and their recycling. A possible photosensitizing effect of vitamin E in skin. Free Radic Res Commun. 1992;16(1):51-64.
- Kondo S, Mamada A, Yamaguchi J, Fukuro S. Protective effect of dl-alpha-tocopherol on the cytotoxicity of ultraviolet B against human skin fibroblasts in vitro. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 1990;7(4):173-177.
- Jin GH, Liu Y, Jin SZ, Liu XD, Liu SZ. UVB induced oxidative stress in human keratinocytes and protective effect of antioxidant agents. Radiat Environ Biophys. 2007;46(1):61-68.
- Tsoureli-Nikita E, Hercogova J, Lotti T, Menchini G. Evaluation of dietary intake of vitamin E in the treatment of atopic dermatitis: a study of the clinical course and evaluation of the immunoglobulin E serum levels. Int J Dermatol. 2002;41(3):146-150.
- Rhie G, Shin MH, Seo JY, et al. Aging- and photoaging-dependent changes of enzymic and nonenzymic antioxidants in the epidermis and dermis of human skin in vivo. J Invest Dermatol. 2001;117(5):1212-1217.
- Shindo Y, Witt E, Han D, Epstein W, Packer L. Enzymic and non-enzymic antioxidants in epidermis and dermis of human skin. J Invest Dermatol. 1994;102(1):122-124.