Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant. It plays a role in your immune system and metabolic processes.Photograph of bok choy

Good sources of vitamin E include

  • Vegetable oils
  • Margarine
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Leafy greens

Vitamin E is also added to foods like cereals. Most people get enough vitamin E from the foods they eat. People with certain disorders, such as liver diseases, cystic fibrosis, and Crohn’s disease may need extra vitamin E.

Vitamin E supplements may be harmful for people who take blood thinners and other medicines. Check with your health care provider before taking the supplements.

Several studies suggest that vitamin E may be helpful in pain management for several conditions, including breast pain and neuropathic pain . Vitamin E might be able to reduce exercise-related damage to muscles, an Australian study found.

But another study found that vitamin E supplements might pose risks, including an increased risk for prostate cancer in men . Adult men and women should aim for about 15 mg or 22.4 IU of vitamin E daily; a typical multivitamin supplement provides that amount.

To boost vitamin E intake through food, use safflower or sunflower oil in recipes and munch on sunflower seeds and nuts including almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts for nutrient-rich snacking. People on blood thinning medications should be careful not to take large amounts of vitamin E because it has been associated with increased bleeding risk. The highest safe supplement dose for adults is 1,500 IU or 1,000 mg a day.

How much vitamin E should you take?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) includes the vitamin E you get from both the food you eat and any supplements you take.

Category

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol): Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

in milligrams (mg) and International Units (IU)

CHILDREN

1-3 years

6 mg/day (9 IU)

4-8 years

7 mg/day (10.4 IU)

9-13 years

11 mg/day (16.4 IU)

FEMALES

14 years and up

15 mg/day (22.4 IU)

Pregnant

15 mg/day (22.4 IU)

Breastfeeding

19 mg/day (28.5 IU)

MALES

14 years and up

15 mg/day (22.4 IU)

The tolerable upper intake levels of a supplement are the highest amount that most people can take safely. Higher doses might be used to treat vitamin E deficiencies. But you should never take more unless a doctor says so.

Category

(Children & Adults)

Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL) of

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

in milligrams (mg) and International Units (IU)

1-3 years

200 mg/day (300 IU)

4-8 years

300 mg/day (450 IU)

9-13 years

600 mg/day (900 IU)

14-18 years

800 mg/day (1,200 IU)

19 years and up

1,000 mg/day (1,500 IU)

Because vitamin E is fat-soluble, supplements are best absorbed with food.

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