Library
All Topics
Propriétés anti-inflammatoires vitamine E

Is Vitamin E an Anti-Inflammatory?

Vitamin E has many virtues, both for the skin and for the body as a whole. A common active ingredient in the formulation of cosmetic care or dietary supplements, it is sometimes credited with anti-inflammatory properties. Can Vitamin E fight inflammation? Discover the answer to this question here.

Summary
Published April 19, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 5 min read

Vitamin E to prevent inflammation?

The vitamin E is one of the most recognized antioxidant molecules. Its mechanism of action has been extensively studied, and it is now known that alpha-tocopherol, the form of vitamin E commonly used in cosmetics and found in food, interrupts lipid peroxidation through an electron donation. This action helps to neutralize the free radicals before they damage DNA, proteins, and lipids, and cause micro-inflammations in the body. Indeed, the chain oxidation of body molecules is a source of damage to cellular constituents. Lesser-known consequences of oxidative stress, micro-inflammations can lead to digestive disorders, skin problems, or chronic fatigue.

More specifically, free radicals can activate certain nuclear factors such as the AP-1 transcription factor, involved in the release of cytokines, which play a role at different levels of inflammation. They particularly promote the synthesis of adhesion molecules, immunoglobulins that play an important role in controlling the circulation of leukocytes. Studies have shown that their inhibition can help to contain the immune response and inflammation. By neutralizing free radicals, vitamin E helps to prevent inflammation.

Vitamin E: Can it act on inflammation?

In addition to its antioxidant properties, scientific research has shown that vitamin E has genuine anti-inflammatory effectiveness. Its scope of action is relatively broad. Mechanistic studies have particularly highlighted that tocopherols could inhibit the release of certain eicosanoids such as prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and leukotrienes. This release is mediated by cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and 5-lipoxygenase (LOX-5). COX-2 is an enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of arachidonic acid into PGE2, an inflammatory mediator responsible for fever and pain. LOX-5, on the other hand, catalyzes the synthesis of certain leukotrienes in mast cells, playing a key role in allergic inflammatory diseases and asthma. These compounds, on which vitamin E can act, are recognized as key targets in pharmacotherapy.

Furthermore, vitamin E suppresses the NF-κB and JAK-STAT6 signaling pathways. These are central transcriptional factors in mediating the response and expression of cytokines and chemokines. Activated by certain receptors in immune cells, NF-κB and JAK-STAT6 bind to consensus target sequences in various promoters and induce the expression of a large number of genes, including those coding for pro-inflammatory cytokines. As a reminder, these play a crucial role in regulating inflammation and the onset of redness, itching, or swelling in the skin.

When combined with other active ingredients, vitamin E has also proven effective in reducing the symptoms of certain inflammatory skin diseases such as acne and psoriasis. The results of these studies are presented in the table below.

StudyCombination of Active IngredientsNumber of patientsDuration of the StudyResults
MICHAËLSSON & EDQVIST (1984)Vitamin E, Selenium893 monthsSignificant reduction in the number of comedones and inflammatory acne lesions
KORKINA & al. (2009).Vitamin E, Coenzyme Q10, Selenium3035 daysSignificant reduction in the number of psoriatic inflammatory lesions
KIMBERLY CO & et al. (2017)Vitamin E, lactoferrin, zinc1683 monthsSignificant reduction in the number of comedones, acne inflammatory lesions
POTENZA & al. (2018)Vitamin E, biotin, probiotics, zinc, nicotinamideNot disclosed3 monthsSignificant reduction in the number of comedones and inflammatory acne lesions

Sources

  • MICHAËLSSON G. & EDQVIST L. Erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activity in acne vulgaris and the effect of selenium and vitamin E treatment. Acta Dermato-venereologica (1984).

  • NACHBAR F. & KORTING H. C. The role of vitamin E in normal and damaged skin. Journal of Molecular Medicine (1995).

  • JIALAL I. & al. Vitamin E, Oxidative Stress, and Inflammation. Annual Review of Nutrition (2005).

  • KORKINA L. & al. Clinical and biochemical effects of coenzyme Q10, vitamin E, and selenium supplementation to psoriasis patients. Nutrition (2009).

  • JIANG Q. Natural forms of vitamin E: metabolism, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities and their role in disease prevention and therapy. Free Radical Biology and Medicine (2014).

  • KIMBERLY CO J. & al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to ascertain the effectiveness and safety of lactoferrin combined with vitamin E and zinc as an oral treatment for mild to moderate acne vulgaris. International Journal of Dermatology (2017).

  • POTENZA T. & al. Novel combination for the treatment of acne differentiated based on gender: a new step towards personalized treatment. Italian Journal of Dermatology and Venereology (2018).

Diagnostic

Understand your skin
and its complex needs.