Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin primarily known for its antioxidant properties. It protects cells from the harmful effects of free radicals, which play a role in the development of heart disease, Cancer and other states. Vitamin E is also important for immune function, dilating blood vessels, and minimizing blood clotting. In addition, it supports skin health by helping to prevent skin damage from UV radiation and improving wound healing.

Forms of vitamin E

Vitamin E exists in eight chemical forms, of which alpha-tocopherol is the most abundant in the human body and has the greatest biological activity. Dietary supplements often contain either natural alpha-tocopherol (obtained from vegetable oils) or synthetic alpha-tocopherol.

Sources of Vitamin E

Natural sources of vitamin E include:

  • Vegetable oils (such as wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and olive oil)
  • Nuts and seeds (such as almonds, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds)
  • Green leafy vegetables (like spinach and kale)
  • Fortified foods

Recommended daily dose

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin E for adults is 15 milligrams (mg), or about 22 international units (IU) for natural alpha-tocopherol. Pregnant women should take the same amount, while breastfeeding women need up to 19 mg (or about 28 IU) per day.

Vitamin E deficiency

Vitamin E deficiency is rare and usually occurs in people with conditions that affect fat absorption, such as cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis or celiac disease. Symptoms of severe deficiency can include neurological problems such as problems with coordination and movement (ataxia), muscle weakness and damage to the retina of the eye.

Safety and overdose

Although vitamin E is safe in the amounts typically obtained through diet, long-term use of high doses of supplements can pose potential risks. These include an increased risk of bleeding, especially in people taking blood-thinning medications, and a possible interaction with other medications.


Vitamin E is an essential antioxidant that plays an important role in maintaining cellular health and immune system function. A balanced diet rich in foods rich in vitamin E can help ensure adequate amounts of this important vitamin. When taking dietary supplements, it is advisable to stick to the recommended doses and, if necessary, seek medical advice to avoid overdose and unwanted interactions.

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