Vitamin E is actually a group of compounds. They are eight fat-soluble ones that have antioxidant properties that are good for your health. This is particularly useful for the elderly population who might need more of the benefits that they might have lost with age.
The chemical compounds in this vitamin are present naturally in different types of foods like:
- Fortified foods, such as Breakfast cereals, breads etc
If you can’t consume these food items for whatever reason, vitamin E is also available as a dietary supplement. Here’s what it can do for seniors (and in general everyone else too).
Benefits Of Vitamin E For Seniors
1. Might Be Good For Heart Health
The risk of heart disease is one that comes with age for a lot of people. But high blood pressure which is the result of an increase in blood lipids like bad cholesterol and triglycerides will also do the same.
There are studies that suggest that taking supplements of vitamin E can help control some of this in some people. So, if you want to know if you fit the profile, this is something you should bring up with your doctor.
Studies have found that when compared to placebo treatments, test subjects who received vitamin E supplements have seen a reduction in systolic or high blood pressure.
Studies have also shown that the omega-3 fatty acids in vitamin E supplements have helped reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in individuals who have health conditions like high levels of blood fat. All of these together increase the risk of heart disease with age.
2. Is Good For Your Skin
Vitamin E is also good for skin which, we don’t have to tell you, undergoes its own changes with age. Vitamin E is an ingredient in many moisturizers because it does a good job treating flaky and dry skin.
This does not have to be a factor of age alone that makes these moisturizers popular among many other demographics.
Vitamin E cannot help treat skin infections and allergic reactions, but it can go as far as helping reduce itching on the skin. Moisturizers can also do that when the cause of the itching is dry skin. This might be because the oils in our skin are not produced as much with age and we lose our youthful appeal.
Apart from keeping itchiness and dry skin at bay, it can also rejuvenate the skin and keep it healthy. Vitamin E is also used in the treatment of skin problems like atopic dermatitis or eczema. And studies have backed this in terms of reduction of symptoms of these diseases.
The use of oils with vitamin E has not been studied so extensively but the moisturizers still seem to hold their ground in terms of the benefits they offer in this context too.
There have been some other studies that have shown that the use of vitamin E topically can help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. And it has also shown that there are no serious side effects to using vitamin E topically, which is a big win.
It may not better than existing treatments. In fact, it might not even be as good, but oils with vitamin E might be an option for those who cannot or don’t want to use prescription medication for cases of mild psoriasis.
3. Might Help Cognitive Health
Another important benefit of vitamin E for the elderly might be its contribution to cognitive health. Cognitive decline does not have to be an inevitable part of aging. If you can make sure that you maintain the right levels of vitamin E, you may with other strategies be able to protect your brain from permanent decline.
There is some research that claims that getting a high dosage of vitamin E might even help delay the progress of health conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. This is, of course, in the mild to moderate stages but more research is required in this area.
In fact, some studies which tried to elaborate on this point did not get similar results. There is so much more research required on Alzheimer's but having a healthy level of Vitamin E can only be beneficial.
4. Can Reduce Inflammation
If you are looking to improve the functioning of your immune system, vitamin E might have something to offer. It has a role to play in functions related to the immune system and can also reduce inflammation.
So, taking supplements of this vitamin is a good idea for older adults who might not be getting enough of it from their food.
It is also a good move for those who have inflammation in their liver because of the build up of fats. This might be the case even for those who don’t drink alcohol. Orally ingesting vitamin E has been proven to be useful in improving liver markers for children and adults who might have conditions like non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH.
5. Could Reduce Cell Damage
This one is controversial, but it is worth mentioning. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties which means it helps fight the damage caused to cells by free radicals produced in the body.
These free radicals cause damage that leads to certain changes that are a natural part of the aging process too. Vitamin E can help reduce this damage at the cellular level which can help with anti-aging and also in the development of some cancers.
Now, the research is still ongoing and it depends on the specific form in which vitamin E is available but there are studies that show that some cancers might also be caused because of low vitamin E levels. Obviously, that is not the main or only reason but it could be a contributing factor.
Word Of Caution
For all the good things it does, there are a couple of things about vitamin E that tell us that it should be taken under the supervision of a medical professional. It is true that vitamin E has antioxidant properties, which is good at a cellular level because it offers protection from oxidative damage that is caused by free radicals.
But there are studies that also tell us that vitamin E does not provide the benefits some claim it does especially for seniors. Vitamin E pills are no good when it comes to protection against health conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis as believed earlier.
But just be a little careful..
Taking supplements every day might also make some infections worse. When you ingest it orally, vitamin E is usually safe. But this is when the dosage is less than 1,000 mg every day.
If you are taking more than 1,000 mg a day, you might experience side effects like:
Vitamin E can be unsafe when it is inhaled through vaping products or e-cigarettes. This is because these products often contain vitamin E acetate. This can cause lung injuries in those who consume them. Let's face it, nobody who wants to live a long life and be healthy should be vaping.
Vitamin E is almost always safe when it is applied to the skin though.
Benefits of Vitamin E For Seniors: Parting Thoughts
Vitamin E offers lots of benefits to people of all ages. But these are some specific things that make life easy for older adults and seniors. Some of these benefits need further research, but they were mentioned so that you can delve deep into the ones that are applicable to you.