What is vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a group of eight fat-soluble compounds that each have powerful and distinctive antioxidant properties - known to help neutralize free radicals and protect the body from cell damage. Only one of these eight forms, alpha-tocopherol, is used by the human body. The body stores vitamin E in fatty tissue and the liver. It’s also found in our sebum, or skin oil, which helps keep moisture in our skin.
Why is vitamin E important?
In addition to its powerful antioxidant properties, vitamin E has been found to be important for vision, male and female reproduction, immunity, and the health of our blood, brain and skin.
Studies have also shown that vitamin E (in combination with omega-3 supplements) may reduce LDL and triglyceride levels in people with metabolic syndrome.
Additionally, early studies have shown that maintaining optimal levels of vitamin E may help prevent cognitive decline, while other scientific research has shown that a high-dose of vitamin E may delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in people who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, although more research is needed.
Topical vitamin E has been found to reduce UV-induced skin swelling, skin thickness, erythema, and edema — all signs of skin inflammation.
Vitamin E deficiency can cause nerve pain (neuropathy).
What are good food sources of vitamin E?
The recommended daily amount of vitamin E for adults is 15 milligrams a day. However, most people get enough vitamin E from a balanced diet. To reap the antioxidant benefits, it’s important to consume vitamin E through food sources since supplements may not offer the same benefits.
- Plant oils – such as rapeseed, sunflower, corn, and olive oil
- Nuts and seeds, including sunflower seeds, almonds and peanuts.
- Leafy greens - such as beet greens, collard greens, spinach.
- Wheat germ - typically found in cereal products
- Red bell peppers
Taking high doses of vitamin E increases the risk of side effects, so make sure to talk to your doctor before taking a high-dose vitamin E supplement.
5 easy ways to consume vitamin E daily:
- Start your day with an avocado toast (with a drizzle of olive oil, perhaps?)
- Enjoy a mid-afternoon snack of apples dipped in peanut butter.
- Need an easy and healthy side dish? Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil (and your favorite spices) over grilled red bell peppers.
- Choose fruits rich in vitamin E, such as mango and kiwi, for dessert.
- Add seeds and nuts to your dinnertime side salad.
Asbaghi, O., Choghakhori, R., & Abbasnezhad, A. (2019, July 9). Effect of Omega-3 and vitamin E co-supplementation on serum lipids concentrations in overweight patients with metabolic disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PubMed. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31405672/
Browne, D., McGuinness, B., Woodside, J. V., & McKay, G. J. (2019, July 18). Vitamin E and Alzheimer's disease: what do we know so far? NCBI. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6645610/
Lakhan, R., Sharma, M., Batra, K., & Beatty, F. B. (2021, November 18). The Role of Vitamin E in Slowing Down Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Narrative Review. NCBI. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8625211/
Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d.). Vitamin E. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-e/art-20364144
Vitamin E - Consumer. (2021, March 22). NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-Consumer/
Vitamin E - Health Professional Fact Sheet. (2021, March 26). NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
Vitamin E | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. (n.d.). Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-e/
What Vitamin E Does for Your Skin's Health. (2022, February 24). Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/vitamin-e-for-skin-health/