Friday, October 31, 2014

Vitamin E is helpful in skin care formulas, but is it GMO?

Vitamin E is commonly known as a supplement for internal use, but it is also an important ingredient for herbal balms and body product formulations. What makes Vitamin E so important to skin care formulators is its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help extend the shelf life of oils by scavenging free radicals from oil based formulations that might otherwise go rancid quickly. Vitamin E is found in plants like soybeans, safflower, wheat germ, avocado, sunflower, and spinach. The chemical makeup of Vitamin E is a mix of 10 fat soluble components called Tocopherols and Tocotrienols. Vitamin E is best stored in a refrigerator to maintain potency which can decrease over time.
Did you know that most Vitamin E, and many Vitamins are made from Genetically Modified Organisms?  This can be a challenge for Organic food manufacturers and formulators who are striving to support Organic growing methods. Vitamin E is most often extracted from soybeans and corn. Soy is now largely genetically modified, with approximately approximately 90% of North American soy crops grown from altered seed. Brian Baker, research director of the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), has warned the National Organic Standards Board that more and more Vitamins are coming from genetically modified sources. National Organic Program rules state that an Organic product "must be produced and handled without the use of excluded methods," such as genetic engineering. This ambiguous wording has led to inconsistent interpretation by Organic certifiers who are assessing manufacturers who have not themselves used genetic engineering methods to produce the crop used to make the Vitamin E.  It can also be confusing to manufactures, because Vitamin suppliers may provide information indicating that genetically modified material is not detected in the finished Vitamin. Some Organic certifiers allow Vitamin E derived from GMO crops if it does not contain detectable genetically modified DNA in the finished product, while others may not. The Vitamin E used by Aquarian Bath is made from Spanish non-GMO soybeans. The soybean crop itself and the finished Vitamin E have both tested negative for GMOs. The Vitamin E is extracted from the soy beans by vacuum distillation. 
Aquarian Bath uses Vitamin E for its antioxidant properties in our Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil based herbal salves, herbal balms, deodorants and most lip balm formulas (all but Virgin Coconut). Oil based formulations which contain primarily Jojoba or Fractionated Coconut oil (95% or more) such as our massage oil, mosquito repellent and hair serum do not require Vitamin E, because these base oils do not go rancid. Vitamin E is also not required in well formulated soap recipes.  It helps that certain ingredients in our soaps and shampoos like Organic Cocoa Butter have a high concentration of Vitamin E.
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