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Vitamin E

Vitamin E benefit
Vitamin E source

Definition

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin.

Alternative Names

Alpha-tocopherol; Gamma-tocopherol

Function

Vitamin E has the following functions:

Whether vitamin E can prevent cancer, heart disease, dementia, liver disease, and stroke still requires further research.

Food Sources

The best way to get the daily requirement of vitamin E is by eating food sources. Vitamin E is found in the following foods:

Fortified means that vitamins have been added to the food. Check the Nutrition Fact Panel on the food label.

Products made from these foods, such as margarine, also contain vitamin E.

Side Effects

Eating vitamin E in foods is not risky or harmful. However, high doses of vitamin E supplements (alpha-tocopherol supplements) might increase the risk of bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke).

High levels of vitamin E may also increase the risk for birth defects. However, it needs more research.

Low intake may lead to hemolytic anemia in premature babies.

Recommendations

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamins reflect how much of each vitamin most people should get each day.

The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine Recommended Intakes for individuals for vitamin E:

Infants (adequate intake of vitamin E)

Children

Adolescents and adults

Ask your health care provider which amount is best for you.

The highest safe level of vitamin E supplements for adults is 1,500 IU/day for natural forms of vitamin E, and 1,000 IU/day for the man-made (synthetic) form.

References

Mason JB. Vitamins, trace minerals, and other micronutrients. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 218.

Salwen MJ. Vitamins and trace elements. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 26.


Review Date: 2/2/2019
Reviewed By: Emily Wax, RD, CNSC, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.