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September 02, 2019

Why do we need Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is the general term for a group of fat-soluble compounds with distinctive antioxidant properties. A lot of studies show that vitamin E is an effective and powerful antioxidant that our body needs which helps protect cells from oxidative stress and free radical damage that is linked to different serious health conditions such as dementia, heart diseases, cancers, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. 

Moreover, it also offers a lot of benefits for your well-being especially when it comes to your heart and cognitive health. Studies show that this essential nutrient plays a crucial role in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases, immune system disorders as well as aging and neurodegenerative diseases.

Read and know more about the different health benefits that you can get from vitamin E which include slowing the aging process and boosting your immunity to reduce your risk from serious health concerns. 


Origin and History 

Vitamin E has been discovered in 1922 by the University of California research physician Dr. Herbert McLean Evans and co-discovered by his assistant Katharine Scott Bishop while they were feeding rats a semipurified diet. They found out that laboratory rats were not able to reproduce but discovered that there was a compound in wheat germ and lettuce that corrected the problem. 

In 1936, Evans and his coworker Gladys A. Emerson have isolated vitamin E from wheat germ oil, corn oil and cottonseed oil at the University of California in Berkeley. While in 1938, vitamin E has been synthesized by Swiss organic chemist Professor Paul Karrer and his co-workers. 


Fast Facts

- Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble compounds and is composed of eight chemical forms: (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol and alpha-, beta, gamma, and delta-tocotrienols).

- Among the different forms of vitamin E, the alpha-tocopherol is the most abundant in the human body and the only one absorbed and enriched by the liver. 

- Wheat germ oil is the richest source of natural vitamin E that is available in the market. 


Vitamin E Deficiency 

Being deficient in vitamin E is rare and usually occurs if you have an underlying condition that impairs the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin E. It also occurs in people who can't absorb fat properly because of the inflammation of the pancreas or having an illness that involves the gallbladder. 

People who suffer from Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, and short bowel syndrome have higher risks of being deficient in vitamin E. Here are the following signs and symptoms of vitamin E deficiency:

  • muscle pain and weakness
  • weak immune system 
  • walking difficulties
  • chronic diarrhea
  • vision problems
  • skin problems
  • numbness
  • tiredness


Health Benefits

1. Skin Health. It helps slow the aging process as it repairs sun-damaged skin and effectively works as a powerful antioxidant that protects your skin from damaged caused by free radicals. It can also help moisturize the skin and lighten acne marks. Researches also prove that vitamin E can prevent skin cancer. 

2. Heart Health. Vitamin E can help prevent cardiovascular problems such as atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke as it promotes balanced cholesterol levels which can reduce your risk of having clogged blood vessels due to the buildup of fatty deposits on the inner walls of your arteries. 

3. Women's Health. Reduces symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome or PMS such as cramping, sleep disturbances, and mood swings. It also helps balance hormones that may prevent irritability, irregular period and is effective in reducing hot flashes among women who are going through menopause. 

4. Promotes Eye Health. Supports healthy eyesight and reduces your risk of having eye problems such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration due to its powerful antioxidant effects. But, for it to be effective, vitamin E should be consumed with proper intake of beta-carotene, vitamin C and zinc. 

5. Wound Healing. Treats minor burns and wounds while promoting proper wound healing. Also, speed up the healing of wounds and may improve the appearance of scars. You can use topically applied vitamin E like the Invite E Vitamin E Pure Oil 30ml for the treatment of minor burns, abrasions, scar tissue, etc.

6. Boosts Memory. According to clinical studies, vitamin E can be beneficial for people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease where it can help slow the progression of mild to moderate forms of Alzheimer's and may significantly help in the prevention of early-onset dementia and other degenerative brain diseases. 

7. Arthritis Relief. Vitamin E supplementation can reduce inflammation of joints to patients with arthritis and musculoskeletal diseases. It can help reduce symptoms of arthritis such as joint pain and swelling. Research shows that it may help increase joint mobility and walking time in patients with osteoarthritis. 

8. Balances Blood Sugar. Since vitamin E has been proven to be an effective and powerful antioxidant, it can help control blood sugar levels. Studies show that people with diabetes have low levels of antioxidants and a lower level of vitamin E has been associated with an increased risk of becoming diabetic. 

9. Bone and Muscle Health. Help reduce bone fractures and help build strong muscles due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Being deficient in vitamin E may lead to muscle weakness and loss of muscle mass. Studies show that it can help improve your muscle strength as well as increasing your physical endurance. 

10. Immunity Booster. Since alpha-tocopherol contains powerful antioxidant properties, it can boost your immunity and fight off free radical damage as well as reducing your risk of developing diseases such as cardiovascular disease. It can also prevent you from getting ill due to different infections and viruses. 


Dietary Sources

Vitamin E can be found in many foods especially certain fats and oils. Since it is composed of fat-soluble compounds it can be found in vegetable and seed oils. Here is the list of food sources that contain high levels of vitamin E:

  • Seed and Vegetable Oils (wheat germ oil, palm oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil)
  • Vegetables (squash, broccoli, spinach, tomato, turnip greens, sweet potatoes, kale)
  • Fruits (mango, avocado, kiwifruit, acai berry, apricots, seabuckthorn berries) 
  • Nuts & Seeds (sunflower, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, quinoa)
  • Others (fortified cereals, peanut butter, almond milk, tomato sauce, sardines, almond butter)


Vitamin E Supplements 

When it comes to taking dietary supplements, we suggest consulting your healthcare practitioner if you are planning on taking vitamin E because of the possible side effects and interactions with other medications. It should be taken with extra care to avoid overdose and misusage. 

Vitamin E comes in different forms and amounts. It is available as part of any multivitamins and also as an independent supplement. It comes in the form of capsules, tablets, topical liquid, cream, oral drops, lotion, and topical ointment. 100% natural vitamin E is suitable for a vegan, halal and kosher diet. 


Dosage and Duration 

The amount of vitamin E that each person needs on their age and every individual has their unique biochemistry so the standard dose will not help everyone. We suggest asking for medical advice before planning on taking vitamin E. However, there is a recommended dietary allowance to help prevent overdosage. 

The table shown below is the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin E or alpha-tocopherol in milligrams (mg) and International Units (IU):






0 to 6 months*

   4 mg     (6 IU)

     4 mg       (6 IU)



7 to 12 months*

    5 mg     (7.5 IU)

     5 mg       (7.5 IU)



1 to 3 years

     6 mg      (9 IU)

     6 mg      (9 IU)



4 to 8 years

7 mg    (10.4 IU)

7 mg     (10.4 IU)



9 to 13 years

11 mg   (16.4 IU)

11 mg   (16.4 IU)



14+ years

15 mg   (22.4 IU)

15 mg    (22.4 IU)

15 mg    (22.4 IU)

19 mg    (28.4 IU)


Precautions and Side Effects

Children and Pregnant Women. Keep out of reach of children. If not properly administered, it can lead to adverse effects. Make sure to consult first your healthcare provider before taking any kind of medication and supplements to prevent any overdose. 

Overdose. High doses and overdose of vitamin E (over 536 mg) can cause adverse effects such as headache, nausea, bleeding, diarrhea, high blood pressure, fatigue and other symptoms that can be dangerous for your health. 

Anticoagulants. Avoid taking vitamin E and anticoagulants or blood thinners at the same time for it may increase the risk of bleeding, especially in people who are deficient in vitamin K. Avoid taking anticoagulants such as warfarin and heparin. 

Weight Loss Drugs. Avoid taking vitamin E supplements together with weight loss drugs such as orlistat, phentermine, and liraglutide. 

Bleeding Disorders. Vitamin E might make bleeding disorders worse, so if you have a bleeding disorder please avoid taking vitamin E supplements. 

Surgery. Vitamin E might cause increased bleeding during and after surgery. Avoid and stop using the vitamin at least two weeks before an arranged surgery.

Disclaimer: The vitamin health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. VitaminsOnly strongly recommends to consult health care professionals for any questions concerning your health. 


National Institutes of Health
Medical News Today
Harvard T.H. Chan
Mayo Clinic

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