If you are a long-time listener, you know that many of the topics I cover on the podcast are suggested by listeners. In fact, after 14 years of weekly episodes, I don't know what I would do without your questions and topic suggestions!

I've gotten a lot of great questions that don't require an entire episode to answer but that I'd love to respond to. Here are five of them. (In most cases, there are related episodes in the archives if you'd like to go deeper!)

Can you get Vitamin E through your skin?

Let's start with one that came in on the Nutrition Diva listener line (443-961-6206).

I have a question about topical vitamin E. I'm aware of that vitamin E supplements should be avoided with people who are taking blood thinners, but I was wondering if topical use would be an alternative way to help.

As I talked about in episode #293, vitamin E is one of the most common nutrient shortfalls. Although you don't need all that much (just 15 mg per day), nine out of ten Americans still fall short on vitamin E.  And this listener is absolutely correct that people who are taking blood thinners (or who are preparing for surgery) are usually advised not to take vitamin E supplements. Vitamin E is a natural anti-coagulant and combining supplements with blood thinners can be too much of a good thing. 

Vitamin E from foods is not a concern, however, and there are some advantages to getting vitamin E from foods rather than supplements. Most supplements only provide the alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E, while foods provide a range of the different tocopherols and tocotrienols that make up the vitamin E family. Nuts, seeds, avocado, and whole grains are going to be your primary sources of natural vitamin E. (See this Vitamin E Cheat Sheet for details.)

But vitamin E is also a popular ingredient in skincare products, leading to this listener's question: Could you absorb vitamin E through your skin?  And the answer is No.

As I explained in episode #465, while nutrients in topical formulas may have cosmetic effects on the surface of the skin, very little if any of those nutrients are penetrating beyond the skin’s surprisingly tough outer layers. That’s why we can slather our skin with mineral-based sunscreens all summer long without developing a zinc overload!

Does pre-chopping broccoli make it healthier?

Ross sent in a great question by email:

Does preparation and cooking method have a significant impact on the amount of sulforaphane in broccoli? And does this matter to our health?

Ross also helpfully ...

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