This essential vitamin cannot be naturally produced by the body. It is a fat-soluble food supplement. It is divided between two groups or two members. The first of which is the tocopherols and the members can be classified as alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. The second group is referred to as tocotrienols. The most common of all is the alpha tocotrienol.

Natural vs. Synthetic

Most vitamins cannot distinguish between natural and synthetic. However, in the case of this vitamin, there is so much difference in the chemical make-up of the two. Natural vitamin E is better absorbed by the body and it has the tendency to stay longer as compared to the synthetic ones, thus making it more effective. In order to distinguish which is natural or not, a label which states d-alpha tocopherol is natural vitamin E, while dl-alpha tocopherol is the synthetic one.

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It is advisable for both men and women to consume about 15 mg of this essential vitamin from food sources like nuts, green leafy vegetables, and liver. But you can take extra amount of this vitamin from food supplements. In fact, the recommended amount for daily intake of this natural vitamin is 400 IU which you can only get from supplements and not from food sources. For body builders, they take more than the recommended dosage to as much as two to three times the recommended dosage.

Functions

  1. It helps prevent oxidative stress. If a person has too much oxygen inside the body, it makes the molecules get very active and this results in cell damage which is referred to as oxidative stress. This essential vitamin along with other vitamins will prevent the molecules from getting too active and maintaining a balance.
  2. It’s helpful to get healthy skin. It acts directly on the skin membranes by protecting them from ultra violet rays. In fact, some dermatologists recommend the topical application of this soft gel onto the skin for a firmer and healthier looking skin.
  3. It offers protection from bladder cancer. Regardless whether you get the effect of this essential vitamin from food sources or from other sources, it has the same effect in terms of preventing bladder cancer. But the alpha-tocopherol is the one that is more potent.
  4. It’s helpful for bodybuilders. This vitamin can help in the quick recovery of muscles from intense bodybuilding exercises. After engaging in an intense exercise regimen, the free radicals cause some damages to the muscles by encouraging inflammation or production of the molecule cytokines. These cytokine molecules will then prevent the growth hormone and insulin like growth-hormone 1 from making the muscles grow bigger. By taking this vitamin before and after workouts, you prevent these free radicals from preventing your muscles to gain more mass.

Side Effects

If you take too much of anything, it could result to some adverse reactions. In this case, it can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, fatigue, and muscle weakness. Remember that the recommended dosage for bodybuilders and non-bodybuilders are different. Caution must be taken to avoid toxicity.