Table of Contents
- 1 Vitamin E: sources and needs
- 2 Vitamin E Recommended doses
- 3 The best sources of vitamin E
- 4 Benefits and properties of vitamin E
- 5 Indications and contraindications
- 6 When should you take vitamin E?
- 7 Contraindications and side effects
- 8 Vitamin E deficiency and overdose
- 9 Conclusion
There are many vitamins that are important for the functioning of our body, and they all play an important and diverse role. Vitamin E is clearly one of them. Here you will find everything you need to know about it: Benefits, indications, recommendations, etc.
Vitamin E: sources and needs
Vitamin E also called “tocopherol”, is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that contributes to the proper functioning of the human body. It is known as an antioxidant but has many other functions and benefits that we will discuss in this article. Vitamin E is actually a family of eight molecules, the most active of which is alpha-tocopherol. These eight molecules include four forms of tocopherols and four forms of tocotrienols. Alpha-tocopherol is the most important form of vitamin E found in our bodies.
Vitamin E Recommended doses
Vitamin E requirements change depending on age, gender, and individual condition. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) helps us better understand and meet our needs. The following list provides an overview of the RDA values for daily intake of vitamin E (1).
Baby 0-6 months 4 mg (6 IU)
Baby 7-12 months 5 mg (7.5 IU)
Infant 1 to 3 years 6 mg (9 IU)
Child 4 to 8 years 7 mg (10.5 IU)
Child 9 to 13 years 11 mg (16.5 IU)
Adolescent (14-18 years) 15.5 mg (22.5 IU)
Adult male (19-75 years) 15.5 mg (22.5 IU)
Adult female (19-75 years) 15.5 mg (22.5 IU)
Adults over 75 years 15 mg (22 IU)
Pregnant or lactating woman 19 mg (28.5 IU)
The best sources of vitamin E
Fats and vegetables are very good sources. Seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils are the best sources of vitamin E. Green leafy vegetables are also good sources. Wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and avocado. These are all excellent natural sources of tocopherol. Most vegetable oils contain tocopherols: remember to vary them as much as possible. Canola, olive, argan, sunflower, hazelnut, etc. It is also found in black currants, cilantro, spinach, mint, blackberries, red pepper, and dandelion, and in smaller amounts in most fruits and vegetables.
Benefits and properties of vitamin E
An antioxidant vitamin
Vitamin E plays an essential role in maintaining the cell membranes that make up our bodies. It is called an “antioxidant” because it helps neutralize and eliminate free radicals that are present in excess in the body. Free radicals have harmful effects on cells: They accelerate their aging process. This can have serious consequences in the long term, as free radicals contribute to the development of certain diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, etc.). Vitamin E reduces and prevents the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is associated with the development of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis.
Prevention of cardiovascular disease
As we have just explained, vitamin E is involved in the prevention of cardiovascular disease caused by an excess of free radicals. However, it also has anti-platelet, anti-inflammatory, and vasodilating properties that are not directly related to its antioxidant properties. Vitamin E has an important cardioprotective function, as shown by studies on vitamin E supplementation. Studies on vitamin E supplementation have shown that the vitamin is beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. But also that it protects against a certain type of stroke. Finally, it is primarily women who benefit, for whom the benefits are more pronounced.
Again, the dose of vitamin E taken daily is a factor in its effectiveness. Researchers believe that tocopherols and tocotrienols do not act in the same way to protect the cardiovascular system.
The effect of vitamin E on the skin
A good supply of vitamin E helps to keep the skin healthy and beautiful. As a fat-soluble vitamin, it helps build cell membranes and keeps skin elastic. As an antioxidant vitamin, it also helps fight skin aging and prevent wrinkles and fine lines. Tocopherol has a real anti-aging effect and helps to make the skin more beautiful every day. It is also known to reduce skin scarring and promote the healing of minor wounds and burns.
Benefits for the immune system
As we age, the efficiency of the immune system tends to decline. After the age of 70, the immune system is significantly compromised by aging. The cells that make up the immune system are less able to protect us from infection, disease, and cancer. This decline in immunity is largely related to a deficiency of certain nutrients, including vitamin E. Studies show that a daily dose of vitamin E can improve immune function, especially in the elderly.
This vitamin has been the subject of numerous clinical studies, some of which include the prevention and treatment of allergies and the prevention of respiratory infections.
Protection against neurodegenerative diseases
Vitamin E clearly plays a role in preventing cognitive decline and the development of neurodegenerative diseases. Studies on the preventive properties of this vitamin in Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline are still inconsistent. In addition, larger studies have shown an association between a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease and a diet high in vitamin E. Because it is present in cell membranes, this vitamin plays an important role in cellular health.
Vitamin E and menstrual cramps
Vitamin E is a true ally for women. Daily intake of this vitamin shows significant improvements in the treatment of menstrual disorders. The recommended daily dose depends on the particular condition. In general, vitamin E reduces the intensity and duration of menstrual pain in young girls. It also helps relieve common symptoms of menstrual pain in women.
A good vitamin for healthy vision
Tocopherol is a vitamin that is often used to prevent and treat eye problems. It is especially important in age-related macular degeneration. People with moderate to advanced macular degeneration benefit from a combination of vitamins E and C and zinc. Results of studies on its effects on visual acuity also suggest that it has a preventive effect against cataracts. This vitamin is therefore important and useful for eye health.
Indications and contraindications
The intake or supplementation of vitamin E is measured in IU (International Units) or mg. It is estimated that 134 mg is equivalent to 200 IU. The recommended dose is 15 mg of the vitamin per day, which is equivalent to 22.5 IU. However, to get the antioxidant benefits of this vitamin, the daily dose should be increased to 65-100 mg. This is the safe limit approved by health authorities and should not be exceeded. Do not hesitate to consult a physician for accurate and individualized recommendations on this subject.
When should you take vitamin E?
First, it is helpful to increase the intake of foods containing vitamin E in a balanced diet. Vitamin E deficiency or insufficiency is rare if you eat a healthy, varied diet. If you have a medical condition that may affect your nutrient intake, talk to your doctor. The same is true if you feel your diet is not meeting your needs for vitamins or other nutrients. We never recommend self-medication: medical advice from a health professional is always safer and more reliable. Your doctor can help you decide whether you need to take vitamin E supplements or not.
Contraindications and side effects
This vitamin has anticoagulant properties that are incompatible with taking blood-thinning medications and the risk of stroke or a history of stroke. In these particular cases, the addition of tocopherols should be avoided. Similarly, vitamin E may increase blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Therefore, people with this health condition should also avoid it. In addition, it is known that taking high doses of vitamin E can cause indigestion, fatigue, and emotional problems. Before taking supplements, we recommend that you enrich your diet with natural sources of vitamin E and consult a doctor.
Vitamin E deficiency and overdose
Like all essential nutrients, vitamin E must be consumed in sufficient quantities to avoid deficiency. Although it is very rare in the US, vitamin E deficiency can have serious health consequences. It can affect both the nervous system and muscles and even cause coordination problems. Vitamin E deficiency in young children can also cause hemolytic anemia.
The main symptoms of vitamin E deficiency are neurological signs. Common causes are diseases that cause fat malabsorption, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or cystic fibrosis.
On the other hand, there is a risk of excessive intake of this vitamin. Since it is fat-soluble, our body can store it in fatty tissue, which increases the risk of overdose. Prolonged excessive consumption of vitamin E may increase the risk of bleeding. Therefore, it is recommended not to exceed the recommended daily intake of this vitamin.
Vitamin E is essential for the proper functioning of our body and plays several important roles in our body. Adequate daily intake is essential, but supplements should not be taken without medical advice. A healthy and balanced diet provides you with all the nutrients you need!
Office of Dietary Supplements. (2023). Vitamin E – Health Professional. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved July 31, 2023, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
Rizvi, S., Raza, S. T., Ahmed, F., Ahmad, A., Abbas, S., & Mahdi, F. (2014). The Role of Vitamin E in Human Health and Some Diseases. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, 14(2), e157–e165. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3997530/