The Surprising Vitamin E Form Boosting Heart Health for Ex-Smokers

Not all forms of vitamin E are created equal when it comes to heart health. Research conducted at Ohio State shows that one specific kind might be far more beneficial than others. In general, natural vitamin E is used more efficiently by the body when compared to synthetic forms. Natural vitamin E occurs in the form of d-tocopherols, while synthetics are labeled dl-tocopherols. Especially for those trying to quit smoking, the Ohio State study demonstrates that gamma-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E, has a significant positive impact on cardiovascular wellness.

The Power of Gamma-Tocopherol

In the research, scientists examined blood markers of inflammation and blood vessel function prior to and after participants quit smoking. One week after abstaining from smoking, the ex-smokers experienced an average increase of 2.8% in their vascular function. Meanwhile, those who quit smoking and supplemented with the gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E witnessed an additional 1.5% improvement in vascular function.

Although this difference may seem small, other studies have shown that every 1% increase in vascular function (or a blood vessel’s ability to dilate) results in a 13% decrease in the likelihood of developing heart disease later in life. “This is a very short-term study that shows very promising effects,” says researcher Richard Bruno. “The underlying rationale is that we know it takes many years before the risk for cardiovascular disease of a former smoker matches that of a nonsmoker. We hope to develop a therapy to combine with smoking cessation that could accelerate the restoration of vascular function and reduce cardiovascular risk.”

Individuals looking to boost their gamma-tocopherol intake can consume food sources like vegetable oils, pistachios, pecans, cashews, and peanuts.

Comparing Natural and Synthetic Vitamin E

While natural vitamin E is more efficiently used by the body than its synthetic counterpart, there’s more to consider when choosing the right form of supplementation. The source of natural d-tocopherol is often plant-based, derived from vegetable oil or nuts. Synthetic dl-tocopherol, on the other hand, can be created through chemical industrial methods, resulting in a lower biological activity and potentially less favorable effects on your heart health.

Synthetic vitamin E also may contain impurities or other compounds that could dilute the final product, further reducing its bioavailability. On the contrary, natural vitamin E sources are often less processed, which preserves their potency and often results in a more concentrated dosage.

When choosing a vitamin E supplement, paying attention to labels is essential. Look for the designation of “d” rather than “dl” when seeking out natural forms of vitamin E. Taking the time to find the right kind of vitamin E is worth the investment for the sake of your heart health.

Additional Benefits of Vitamin E

While the cardiovascular benefits of natural vitamin E, specifically gamma-tocopherol, are worth noting, vitamin E also has a wide range of other health benefits. It is a powerful antioxidant, which can protect your body from harmful free radicals and reduce oxidative stress that can lead to chronic conditions, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.

Vitamin E has long been associated with skincare due to its moisturizing properties and its ability to reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles. Additionally, it can help protect your skin from the damaging effects of excess sun exposure, as it has been shown to absorb ultraviolet light, reducing the risk of sunburn and subsequent damage to your skin cells.

Furthermore, vitamin E may help support a healthy immune system, as it functions as an antioxidant and can potentially lower the risk of infections. It also plays a role in maintaining healthy vision, as some studies suggest that high doses of vitamin E can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss among older adults.

In Summary

Considering the benefits of natural vitamin E, especially gamma-tocopherol, in supporting cardiovascular health and overall wellness, make sure to pay attention to the labels when seeking out the right kind of vitamin E supplement. Opt for the natural “d” form and explore food sources, such as vegetable oils and nuts, to further protect your heart and experience the myriad benefits that vitamin E can offer.