Written by Ava Rosinski
Fact checked by The Brain Blog Team
Off the top of your head, you can probably list at least three popular vitamins and minerals and the role they play in nutrition. Micronutrients are needed in minuscule amounts, but provide major benefits for our bodies. For example, calcium (vitamin D) supports bone health, iron supports healthy blood, vitamin C supports the immune system, and potassium (vitamin K) supports blood pressure. But what about Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a vital nutrient for good health, particularly brain health! It is found in a wide variety of foods and supplements, so the best way to consume this vitamin is through a healthy diet. Vitamin E is important for many areas of the body including vision, reproduction, blood health, and most importantly, brain health. Since human beings don’t come packaged with all the vitamins and minerals we need, we need to make sure we get them from a good diet and proper supplementation.
Let’s break down the science of vitamin E: this nutrient has strong antioxidant properties, meaning it protects our cells against the damaging effects of free radicals (molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke or ultraviolet radiation from the sun.) Neurons, which are cells that enable proper cognitive function, are built largely out of cholesterol and polyunsaturated fats. These compounds are highly susceptible to oxidative damage. Because vitamin E has powerful Antioxidant properties (It is a fat-soluble antioxidant, which allows it to cross the blood-brain barrier), it protects these fats from oxidation to reduce oxidative stress on the brain.
Vitamin E has eight naturally occurring chemical forms. The form Alpha-tocopherol, found in Memory Health, is the only form that is recognized to meet human requirements. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have been found to have lower levels of vitamin E in the cerebrospinal fluid that nourishes and protects the brain. And since high levels of oxidative stress in the brain may potentially contribute to AD, vitamin E may help protect neurons from undergoing this damage.
Now that we know the facts, let discuss a healthy diet, high in vitamin E. The foods richest in vitamin E are nuts and seeds, whole grains, and vegetable oils, such as corn, soybean, and safflower oils. It is also found in dark-colored fruits such as blueberries, avocados and blackberries, and vegetables such as spinach and bell peppers. You may also try fortifying your diet with Vitamin E through supplementation. The Memory Health formula provides 15mg of natural Vitamin E (D-Alpha Tocopherol), which is the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin E according to the National Institute of Health.