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Vitamin & Minerals Guide - Vitamin E

What is Vitamin E?

When we discuss Vitamin E, it’s important to first understand free radicals - the bodies local up-to-no-goods. Simply put, free radicals are unstable chemical forms that can cause damage to cells and DNA. Thankfully, Vitamin E plays the role of policeman in your body against these no-gooders. Along with Vitamins A and C, Vitamin E is an antioxidant which protects your body from free radicals. The human body uses Vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol. Vitamin E is also fat-soluble and comes in up to 8 different forms. 

Why does it matter?

  • Vitamin E deficiency is rare because it is found in many sources and is instead usually due to an individual’s inability to absorb fats effectively. Vitamin E deficiency can lead to improper nerve, muscle, and immune function. 
  • Alpha tocopherol transfer protein (TTP) is the primary protein Vitamin E interacts with. This protein is involved in transport and crossing cell membranes but how this is linked with health and disease is not well understood.
  • Vitamin E’s most obvious effects are seen in premature babies and is associated with decreased risk of bleeding disorders and increased risk of sepsis. 

Where can I find Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is typically found in a wide array of non-animal products such as plant-based oils, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. 

Some of the highest sources of Vitamin E include oils and sunflower seeds (7.4mg/1 oz). However, some surprising vegetables are also rich sources of Vitamin E such as peppers including jalapenos (3.6mg/100g) and sweet bell peppers (1.6mg/100g). Greens such as radicchio (2.3mg/100g), spinach (2mg/100g), and swiss chard (1.9mg/100g) are also good sources of vitamin E. 

Daily recommended intakes

Recommended daily intake can vary depending on the advising body, but here are some recommendations for healthy adults across the world (Numbers may vary for those with specific deficiencies, pregnant women, children, etc.):

  • 15 mg/day (USA
  • 15 mg/day (Canada
  • 7 mg/day (Japan
  • 13mg (men) or 11mg (women)/day (EU

To wrap it up

Vitamin E deficiency is rare without other conditions or mitigating circumstances. Eating a diverse diet will ensure adequate vitamin E levels in your body. Additional vitamin E through supplementation or diet has actually not shown to help prevent disease or lead to any better nutritional or health outcomes.

Fun Fact

Vitamin E is commonly added to skin care products and marketed to promote wound healing, but no scientific studies have shown this conclusively yet. 

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