Vitamin E: Unpacking Its Health Benefits

Written by Dr. Pramod Mane on Wed, 19 June 2024

Key Highlights

  • Vitamin E is an essential nutrient that acts as a potent antioxidant.
  • It offers numerous health benefits, including skin health and immune function.
  • Foods like nuts and seeds are rich in Vitamin E.
  • Symptoms like fatigue indicate a potential deficiency.
  • Maintain recommended daily intake to ensure optimal health.
  • Excessive consumption can lead to complications. 

Have you ever felt like your skin has lost its glow or your hair lacks that luscious shine it once had? Or perhaps, despite eating healthy and exercising, you still feel drained at the end of the day? If these scenarios sound familiar, there's a good chance your body might be running low on a crucial nutrient—vitamin E.

Vitamin E is a lesser-known nutrient that plays an essential role in maintaining our overall health. It’s the unsung hero in our daily wellness routine that often gets overlooked amidst other more popular vitamins. Yet, its contributions to our health are significant and wide-ranging.

In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits of Vitamin E, why you need it, and how you can incorporate it into your daily diet. So buckle up and join us on this enlightening journey into the world of Vitamin E!

What is vitamin E?

What is vitamin E?

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant. "Fat-soluble" means it gets stored in our body's fatty tissues and the liver. Antioxidants are substances that protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals.  

Free radicals are unstable molecules produced by our bodies when we digest food or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. They can cause cell damage and contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Vitamin E comes in eight different forms, but alpha-tocopherol is the only form that the human body fully recognizes and uses.

Benefits of vitamin E

Vitamin E wears many hats when it comes to health benefits.

  • It supports our immune system, helping it fight off bacteria and viruses.
  • Its antioxidant properties protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.
  • It aids heart health by preventing blood platelets from clumping together.
  • Vitamin E contributes to skin health, offering protection against UV damage and promoting wound healing.
  • Emerging research suggests it may have anti-inflammatory properties.

Foods high in vitamin E

Foods high in vitamin E

Our bodies don't naturally produce Vitamin E, so we need to get it from our diet. Thankfully, there are plenty of tasty and healthy choices available!

  • Nuts and seeds- almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds are especially rich sources.
  • Vegetable oils- wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil pack high levels of Vitamin E.
  • Leafy green vegetables like spinach and broccoli are good options.
  • Fortified breakfast cereals and fruit juices often have added Vitamin E.

Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency

Vitamin E deficiency is rare but can occur. Some symptoms you might notice are:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision problems like blurred vision or difficulty seeing in dim light
  • Unsteady walking
  • Impaired immune function

Who is at risk of vitamin E deficiency?

Certain individuals are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin E.

  • People with disorders that make it difficult for the body to absorb fats may struggle to get enough Vitamin E because it is fat-soluble.
  • Premature infants who are low in birth weight may also be at risk of Vitamin E deficiency, as they might not have received adequate amounts from their mothers.
  • Those with rare genetic disorders like abetalipoproteinemia and cholestatic liver disease may struggle with Vitamin E absorption.

Daily vitamin E requirement

The daily requirement for vitamin E varies based on factors such as age, sex, and overall health. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E, established by the Institute of Medicine, is as follows:

  • For adults (ages 14 and older), including pregnant individuals: 15 milligrams (or 22.4 International Units) of vitamin E per day.
  • For breastfeeding individuals: 19 milligrams (or 28.4 International Units) of vitamin E per day.

Can you get too much vitamin E?

It is possible to consume too much vitamin E, leading to adverse effects. Excessive intake of vitamin E supplements can result in a condition called hypervitaminosis E. Symptoms of vitamin E toxicity may include:

  • Increased risk of bleeding: High doses of vitamin E can interfere with blood clotting, potentially leading to bleeding disorders.
  • Nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort: Excessive vitamin E intake may cause stomach pain, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke: Some studies suggest that very high doses of vitamin E may be associated with an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke, especially in individuals with certain health conditions.
  • Impaired immune function: Chronic excessive intake of vitamin E may negatively impact immune function.

Is vitamin E supplementation necessary?

Is vitamin E supplementation necessary?

While eating a balanced diet should provide sufficient Vitamin E for most individuals, supplementation may be necessary for some people due to specific health conditions or dietary restrictions. For instance, those with malabsorption disorders may benefit from supplementation under a doctor's guidance.

Interaction with other nutrients

Vitamin E interacts with various other nutrients in the body, playing a role in maintaining overall health. Some key interactions include:

  • Vitamin C: Vitamin E and vitamin C work together synergistically as antioxidants, enhancing each other's effectiveness in neutralizing free radicals and protecting cells from oxidative damage. This combination supports immune function and overall health.
  • Selenium: Selenium is an essential mineral that works in tandem with vitamin E to form selenoenzymes, which have antioxidant properties. Together, selenium and vitamin E help protect cells from oxidative stress and support immune function.
  • Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs): Vitamin E helps prevent the oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in cell membranes. By protecting PUFAs from oxidative damage, vitamin E contributes to cardiovascular health and reduces inflammation.
  • Vitamin K: There is some evidence to suggest that vitamin E may interfere with the blood-clotting function of vitamin K. High doses of vitamin E could potentially antagonize the action of vitamin K, leading to increased bleeding risk in individuals taking blood-thinning medications.

Latest research findings on vitamin E

Recent studies have shed light on the extensive benefits of Vitamin E. A comprehensive review found that Vitamin E intake is positively associated with numerous health outcomes, including reduced risk of various cancers, heart disease, and even mental health conditions such as depression. Another study suggested that Vitamin E supplementation might help slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease and improve cognitive function in patients with this condition.

In conclusion, while Vitamin E may not always steal the spotlight, its role in maintaining our health is invaluable. Acting as a silent protector against cell damage, this antioxidant powerhouse supports immune resilience and heart health. By incorporating Vitamin E-rich foods like nuts, seeds, and leafy greens into our diets, we can ensure we're giving our bodies the nourishment they need to thrive.

Let's not underestimate the power of Vitamin E in our wellness journey. With every nutritious bite, we're investing in our long-term health and well-being. So here's to embracing the understated yet essential role of Vitamin E and living our lives to the fullest with the support of this unsung hero.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, coconut oil does contain some amount of Vitamin E, although the concentration is not as high as in other food sources such as wheat germ oil or sunflower seeds. It's a wonderful ingredient to include in your diet or skincare routine for its numerous health benefits. 

Absolutely! Cod liver oil is a fantastic source of Vitamin E, along with other essential vitamins such as Vitamin A and Omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporating cod liver oil into your dietary regimen can greatly contribute to overall health and well-being. 

Several fruits are rich in Vitamin E, with the top runners being avocados and kiwi fruit. Other fruits like papaya, blackberries, and olives also contain noteworthy amounts of this fantastic antioxidant. 

Vitamin E plays a crucial role in maintaining skin health. It helps keep skin hydrated, reduces inflammation, and may even help protect skin from damage caused by free radicals in the environment. This can, in turn, help slow down the signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles. 

Using a vitamin E capsule on your face can be quite beneficial for your skin. Here’s a simple way to do it: pierce a small hole into the capsule using a clean needle, squeeze out the liquid onto your fingertips, and then gently massage it onto your clean face before you go to bed at night. Remember to always patch test any new product before using it on your whole face to ensure you won’t have an adverse reaction. 

While it's uncommon, taking large doses of Vitamin E supplements can potentially cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and, yes, even constipation in some people. As with any supplement, it's best to consult a healthcare professional before starting or changing your dosage. 


Dr. Pramod Mane

A Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Pharmacology., currently based in Mumbai, India, Dr Pramod Mane, comes with an experience of more than 20 years of working in Medical Affairs in the Pharmaceuticals & Nutraceutical Industry. Director of Medical Services at Mega Lifesciences since 2008, Dr Mane has been associated with several MNCS in the areas of Medical Affairs, Medical Services, Medico-marketing, Pharmacovigilance & Clinical trials in his illustrious career.

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Current Version

Jun, 19 2024

Written By

Dr. Pramod Mane

Jun, 05 2024

Written By

Dr. Pramod Mane

Jun, 05 2024

Written By

Dr. Pramod Mane