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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 1998 Mar;10(2):103-17.

Vitamin E: the radical protector.

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Maccabee Dermatologic Outpatient Clinic, Tel-Aviv University, Israel.


Since its discovery and isolation the importance of vitamin E in maintaining normal physiologic processes and its value in treating various disease states have been the subject of much controversy. It was our intention to review and highlight some of the arguments and problems regarding the usefulness of vitamin E and to try to put them into proper perspective. The major area of interest concerning vitamin E lies essentially in its role in preventing damage caused by free radicals. The latter are now known to play an important role in radiation induced carcinogenesis, photoaging and photosensitization. The chemistry of vitamin E, its physiological function as a major antioxidant and its interaction with other antioxidants are described by the sum of animal studies, in vitro research and epidemiological investigations. In preparing the current data, it appeared that despite the controversy and conflicting results the body of literature as a whole judges vitamin E to be useful as an antioxidant. Although, in principle, the use of vitamin E can be quite advantageous, the manner of its administration, especially regarding topical application, remains unclear.

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