Week 22 Blog- Vitamin E

Today, we continue with the fat-soluble vitamin family. In review- Fat-soluble vitamins play important roles in a many of physiological processes such as vision, bone health, immune function, and blood coagulation. Fat-soluble vitamins - A, D, E, and K – are dissolved in fats and enter the bloodstream through lymph channels in the intestinal wall. They are carried by certain proteins to their destinations. Excess fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissues. They are called on when needed, kind of like time-release vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins are present in foods containing fats. The body absorbs these vitamins as it does dietary fats. They do not dissolve in water. Today we will take a closer look at Vitamin E.

What is vitamin E-

1.            structurally- is a family of 8 antioxidants divided into 2 groups- 1. Tocopherols -alpha, beta, gamma and delta- tocopherols

                                                                                                                                2.tocotrienols-alpha, beta, gamma and delta-tocotrienols.

Alpha-tocopherol is the most common form of vitamin E and makes up 90% of the vitamin E in the blood and is the only form that is recognized to meet human requirements. So, vitamin E is the name for a group of fat-soluble compounds that are specialists in antioxidant activities.


2.            Antioxidants protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are scavenging (a wild child) loose electrons—that can damage cells and are molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. Antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin E, came to public attention in the 1980s. Scientists began to understand that the scavenging wild child free radical was involved in the early stages of artery-clogging atherosclerosis, might also contribute to cancer, vision loss, and many other chronic conditions. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-e/

Vitamin E has the ability to protect cells from free radical damage as well as reduce the production of free radicals in certain situations.

BUT varying study results have dimmed some of the promise of using high dose vitamin E to prevent chronic diseases. More studies are in the works.


3.            Healthy skin- Vitamin E is a very potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory with various skin benefits. It can be found in numerous skin care products, particularly moisturizers. Vitamin E can help protect and nourish the skin barrier-a wall that prevents harmful toxins from entering your skin where they can cause damage. https://thedermreview.com/vitamin-e-skin-care/ Please visit with you dermatologist for personal recommendations.


4.            Vision- Vitamin E's main role in the body appears to be neutralizing oxidation. For that reason, researchers think it plays an important role in protecting certain parts of the eye, which is particularly susceptible to oxidative damage. Eyes are frequently exposed to large amounts of UVA and UVB lights, which put them more at risk of free radical damage than any other body part. Each type of light affects a different part of the eye. UVA light affects your central vision by damaging the retina, and UVB light affects the front of the eye, causing damage to the cornea and lens. Tocopherols (vitamin E) travel through your blood directly to the retina to protect against these damaging rays of light.  The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that vitamin E, along with other nutrients, helped some people who had moderate age-related macular degeneration. The nutrients reduced the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration by 25% for those who already had evident early changes of macular degeneration. Evidence from other studies suggests that the alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E, along with lutein and zeaxanthin, may decrease the risk of cataracts. However, other studies have not found that vitamin E is important for vision, so more research is needed. It's important to talk to your doctor before taking vitamin E supplements in order to discuss the right dose, possible side effects, as well as other treatments.https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/vitamin-e-vision      https://1md.org/health-guide/eye/ingredients/tocopherols-vitamin-e

           How much do we need?

Most people get enough vitamin E from a balanced diet. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E for males and females ages 14 years and older is 15 mg daily (or 22 international units, IU), including women who are pregnant. Lactating women need slightly more at 19 mg (28 IU) daily.     https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-e/

I have put a conversion form mg to IU on my website. Always look at your vitamin label.

To convert from mg to IU:

1 mg of alpha-tocopherol is equivalent to 1.49 IU of the natural form or 2.22 IU of the synthetic form.

To convert from IU to mg:

1 IU of the natural form is equivalent to 0.67 mg of alpha-tocopherol.

1 IU of the synthetic form is equivalent to 0.45 mg of alpha-tocopherol.

For example, 15 mg of natural alpha-tocopherol would equal 22.4 IU (15 mg x 1.49 IU/mg = 22.4 IU). The corresponding value for synthetic alpha-tocopherol would be 33.3 IU (15 mg x 2.22 IU/mg).

Vitamin E Deficiency

According to the NIH, Vitamin E deficiency is rare and deficiency symptoms have not been found in healthy people who obtain little vitamin E from their diets. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/

People who have digestive disorders or do not absorb fat properly (e.g., pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease) can develop a vitamin E deficiency.

    SOURCES of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is found in plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables- such as Wheat germ oil, Sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil, Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Peanuts, peanut butter, Beet greens, collard greens, spinach

Pumpkin, Red bell pepper, Asparagus, Mango, Avocado. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-e/

Wheat germ oil, 1 tablespoon     20.3mg/serv       135% DV

Sunflower seeds, dry roasted, 1 ounce    7.4 mg/serv        49% DV

Almonds, dry roasted, 1 ounce   6.8 mg/serv        45% DV

Sunflower oil, 1 tablespoon         5.6 mg/serv        37% DV

Vitamin E is also available as an oral supplement in capsules or drops.


There is no evidence of toxic effects from vitamin E found naturally in foods. It is recommended NEVER to megadose a supplement. In all cases more is never better!!


research suggests that vitamin E use might increase the risk of death in people with a severe history of heart disease, such as heart attack or stroke. Talk with your doctor before taking vitamin E if you have:

A vitamin K deficiency, an eye condition in which the retina is damaged (retinitis pigmentosa), Bleeding disorders, Diabetes, A history of a previous heart attack or stroke, Head and neck cancer, Liver disease.

The supplement might increase your risk of bleeding. If you're planning to have surgery, stop taking vitamin E two weeks beforehand. Also, talk to your doctor about vitamin E use if you're about to have or you just had a procedure to open blocked arteries and restore normal blood flow to your heart muscle (angioplasty).


Use of some drugs can affect your vitamin E levels. Possible interactions include:


-Alkylating agents and anti-tumor antibiotics. There's concern that high doses of vitamin E might affect the use of these chemotherapy drugs.

-Anticoagulants and anti-platelet drugs, herbs and supplements. Use of vitamin E with these drugs, herbs and supplements to reduce blood clotting might increase the risk of bleeding.

-Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates. Use caution when taking vitamin E and other drugs affected by these enzymes, such as omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid).

-Statins and niacin. Taking vitamin E with statins or niacin, which might benefit people with high cholesterol, could reduce niacin's effect.

-Vitamin K. Taking vitamin E with vitamin K might decrease the effects of vitamin K.

It is always important to have all the facts on every subject relating to health and health decisions!