Vitamin E


Vitamin E refers to a group of 8 naturally occurring compounds with antioxidant activity: alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol.

  • α-Tocopherol functions as a chain-breaking antioxidant, preventing the propagation of free radicals in membranes and plasma lipoproteins. α-Tocopherol is also likely involved in strengthening certain aspects of cell-mediated immunity.
  • Vitamin E deficiency can be caused by fat malabsorption disorders or by genetic abnormalities that affect vitamin E transport. Severe deficiency symptoms include vitamin E deficiency-induced ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, muscle weakness, and damage to the retina of the eye.
  • Randomized controlled trials investigating primary and/or secondary prevention of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cataracts, do not currently support a preventative effect of supplemental α-tocopherol.
  • Limited clinical evidence suggests that vitamin E supplementation may be beneficial for managing age-related macular degeneration and fatty liver diseases secondary to type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Supplementation with α-tocopherol was found to slow cognitive decline or loss of functional abilities in cognitively impaired subjects in some, but not all, clinical studies.
  • Plant seeds, especially sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts, are rich sources of α-tocopherol such that many vegetable oils (e.g., olive oil and canola oil) also contain α-tocopherol. Other sources include tomato, avocado, spinach, asparagus, Swiss chard, and broccoli.
  • High doses of supplemental α-tocopherol may interfere with the vitamin K-dependent blood clotting cascade and increase the risk of bleeding in individuals taking anticoagulant drugs.

Dosage and administration

  • The current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 15 mg/day of α-tocopherol. It is estimated that more than 90% of American adults do not meet the estimated average requirement (EAR) of 12 mg/day of α-tocopherol.
  • The most commonly used dosages of vitamin E in clinical trials have been 100–800 IU/day, although dosages of 50–3,200 IU/day have been used in different studies.
  • Dosage comparisons between alpha-tocopherol and mixed tocopherols are difficult because tocopherols other than alpha-tocopherol are not counted in determining the number of IU contained in a product.
  • Vitamin E is best absorbed when taken with a meal that contains fat.

To schedule an appointment please contact us

Carolina Integrative Clinic

254 Towne Village Dr, Cary, NC 27513, United States


Tel: (919) 869-6661

Fax: (919) 301-9349