According to a latest study published in the journal of Immunology, vitamin E can help regulate an ageing immune system and protect your body against bacterial infections, especially those that cause pneumonia. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that naturally occurs in certain foods like sunflower seeds, tomatoes, mangoes and kiwi. Some people apply it on their skin and it is even used in certain beauty products as it known to reduce roughness, clear wrinkles and prevent ageing.
The research team studied older male mice before and after they were infected with the pneumonia-causing bacteria. The experimental group of mice was fed an extra amount of vitamin E, equivalent to about 200 IU (International Unit) per day consumed by humans - about 10 times the recommended daily allowance but below the upper limit.
When compared with mice that consumed a normal amount of vitamin E, those that were fed extra had 1,000 times fewer bacteria in their lungs. They also had two times fewer white blood cells (neutrophils). The reduced number of bacteria and white blood cells resulted in less lung damage in the older mice who received an extra dose of vitamin E. These mice were able to control the infection as efficiently as young mice.
"A growing body of research suggests vitamin E could make up for the loss of immune response caused by aging. Whether vitamin E can help protect people against this type of pneumonia affecting older adults requires more research," said co-senior author Simin Nikbin Meydani from Tufts University, US.
He also added that people aged over 65 are at a high risk of developing pneumonia. Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs typically caused due to certain viruses and bacteria. Some of the common symptoms include cough, chest pain and fever. It is usually treated with antibiotics. With inputs from IANS