Sources, Benefits and Effects on Bodybuilding
When lifting weights and watching what we eat, we don’t really consider taking vitamins to help our wellness and fitness journey. There are a lot of vitamins that can help us achieve that optimum workout results – one of them is Vitamin E.
What is Vitamin E?
One of the essential vitamins our body needs is Vitamin E, it is the collective term for complex chemicals such as tocotrienols and tocopherols, with alpha-tocopherol being the only one best utilized by the human body.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble substance that acts as an antioxidant. Our bodies don’t have the capacity to produce it so we have to obtain it from dietary sources. As an antioxidant, Vitamin E protects our cells from the damages brought about by free radicals – these are toxic compounds that are produced by our body naturally as a result of metabolism and exposure to cigar smoke, UV rays, and radiation.
Sources of Vitamin E
Because of our body’s inability to produce Vitamin E, it is very important that we get it from dietary sources and even supplements. With healthy eating, we must ensure that we at least have some of the following food groups as part of our daily meals.
The next time we’re shopping for our groceries, we must include the following food items on our list as they are proven to be rich sources of Vitamin E. The following lists include the daily value (DV) per 100g serving.
Animal-based foods. Many animal-based foods are great sources of Vitamin E.
Abalone – 27% DV
Atlantic Salmon – 8% DV
Crayfish – 10% DV
Dried Cod – 5% DV
Fish Roe – 47% DV
Goose Meat – 12% DV
Lobster – 7% DV
Octopus – 8% DV
Rainbow Trout – 19% DV
Snails – 33% DV
Seeds and nuts. This food group is already a part of a bodybuilder’s diet but it bears repeating for those who are just starting their fitness journey.
Almonds – 48% DV
Brazil nuts – 37% DV
Cashew nuts – 6% DV
Hazelnuts – 100% DV
Peanuts – 56% DV
Pecans – 9% DV
Pine nuts – 62% DV
Pistachios – 19% DV
Pumpkin Seeds – 15% DV
Sunflower Seeds – 234% DV
Fruits. Not many fruits are great sources of Vitamin E, but some of them provide multiple vitamins, including Vitamin C which complements Vitamin E as antioxidants.
Apricots – 6% DV
Avocado – 14% DV
Blackberries – 6% DV
Black Currants – 7% DV
Dried Cranberries – 14% DV
Kiwifruit – 10% DV
Mamey Sapote – 14% DV
Mango – 6% DV
Pickled Olives – 25% DV
Raspberries – 6% DV
Vegetables. For those who are on a vegan diet, these vegetables can be very beneficial when added to your meal plan.
Asparagus (cooked) – 10% DV
Beet Greens (cooked) – 12% DV
Broccoli (cooked) – 10% DV
Butternut Squash (cooked) – 9% DV
Collards (raw) – 15% DV
Mustard Greens (cooked) – 12% DV
Red Sweet Pepper (raw) – 11% DV
Spinach (raw) – 14% DV
Swiss Chard (raw) – 15% DV
Turnip Greens (raw) – 19% DV
Cooking Oils. When cooking recipes which ingredients do not contain Vitamin E, using these cooking oils will do the trick. The list includes the daily value (DV) per 1 tablespoon.
Almond Oil — 36% DV
Canola Oil — 16% DV
Cottonseed Oil — 32% DV
Grapeseed Oil — 26% DV
Hazelnut Oil – 43% DV
Palm Oil — 14% DV
Rice Bran Oil — 29% DV
Safflower Oil — 31% DV
Sunflower Oil – 37% DV
Wheat Germ Oil – 135% DV
Health benefits of Vitamin E
Consuming food groups with rich Vitamin E content and even supplementing have its health benefits. We may not see or feel these effects immediately but studies have proven that Vitamin E is responsible for the following health advantages.
It balances cholesterol. High cholesterol combined with a poor diet may soon lead to heart attack. It is important that we continuously monitor and check our blood pressure. Particularly those that are genetically hypertensive, maintaining a healthy diet with the inclusion of Vitamin E is literally a life-saver.
It fights free radicals. The presence of free radicals in the body can lead to the development of diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants in Vitamin E reduce the damages brought by free radicals.
It slows aging. Vitamin E is proven to naturally slow down the aging process. Especially when combined with Vitamin C, they strengthen and improve the moisture and elasticity of the skin. It protects the skin from cigarette smoke and UV rays from the sun, therefore preventing skin cancer.
It thickens hair. Vitamin E retains oil and promotes healthy circulation to the scalp, making the hair look healthier and fresher.
It balances hormones. People experiencing hormonal imbalance can definitely reap the benefits of Vitamin E. It plays a crucial role in balancing your endocrine and nervous systems, which helps you maintain a healthy weight, regular menstrual cycle, and be more energetic.
It improves vision. Vitamin E is crucial to reducing the effects of macular degeneration, an inevitable outcome of aging. When taken together with Vitamin C and Zinc, you can enjoy aging without the age-related consequences.
It slows down memory loss. Research shows that Vitamin E helps in slowing down memory loss for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. When combined with Vitamin C, it also helps in decreasing the risk of developing dementia.
It lowers cancer risk. Antioxidants from Vitamin E lessens the effect of radiation from cancer treatment. Because it fights off free radicals in the body, Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that reduces unwanted side effects such as hair loss and lung damage.
It helps in pregnancy and growth development. Experts believe that Vitamin E greatly impacts the early stages of brain and neurologic development during conception and pregnancy. It is recommended for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and infants to take natural-based Vitamin E supplements, on top of getting it from dietary sources, to prevent abnormalities.
It helps on fitness and bodybuilding. Vitamin E can be utilized in improving physical endurance and muscle strength. It increases your energy and reduces fatigue after you exercise.
Effects on Bodybuilding
A study conducted by the Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy at Georgia Regents University has provided findings on the direct mechanism of Vitamin E’s effect in bodybuilding. Led by Dr Paul L McNeil, their research titled “The antioxidant requirement for plasma membrane repair in skeletal muscle” was published in the 84th volume of Free Radical Biology and Medicine journal.
Dr McNeil commented that “for the first time, 83 years after its initial discovery, we know what the cellular function of Vitamin E is. And knowing that cellular function, we can now ask whether we can apply that knowledge to medically relevant areas”.
Highlights of the research includes the following:
Researchers present that “Vitamin E is required for skeletal muscle health”
Researchers hypothesized that “the antioxidant vitamin E is required for plasma membrane repair in skeletal muscle”
Researchers conclude that “the antioxidant activity of vitamin E is required for muscle plasma membrane repair and is essential for skeletal muscle homeostasis”
Dr McNeil notes that “major medical significance is yet to be uncovered”. He added that these findings might one day prove that Vitamin E supplements are not only utilized for muscle building in athletes but
could also be a catalyst in preventive therapy for soldiers and other high-risk individuals.
Now that we know most about Vitamin E, and if we are serious in our fitness and wellness journey, we have to commit to a healthy lifestyle by incorporating Vitamin E into our daily meals.
We can stop making excuses because there are a lot of dietary sources for Vitamin E from different food groups. Even if you’re vegan, or someone who hates vegetables, there are available food groups for your liking. The earlier we change our diet we adopt the Vitamin E-rich diet, the earlier our body can fight age-related diseases such as macular degeneration and heart problems.
Doesn’t it feel good knowing that after exercising and working out, our muscles grow and repair themselves properly? If we think about it, we can reach our fitness goals faster since Vitamin E helps repair our muscles quickly. We can be ready for that beach getaway anytime soon!
Furthermore, having great skin to complement a beach-ready body really does wonders with our self-esteem. In achieving our goal weight and appearance, we can free up our mind with the stress of not looking our best self. In turn, we can start doing what we’ve always wanted to do and plan our getaways since we’re no longer camera-shy!
But more than the aesthetics, Vitamin E affords us peace of mind. We can rest assured that even if we are exposed to free radicals and the UV rays from the sun, our cells can still recover and our body can withstand its effects. Getting old and aging might be inevitable, but it is a blessing that we a have a way to slow it down and still get to be very active in our later years.
Besides, looking younger than your actual age for decades isn’t really that bad, eh?