Vitamin E is a group of 8 fat-soluble vitamins which help prevent oxidative stress to the body, and other vitamins within the body.
Adequate amounts of vitamin E can help protect against heart disease, cancer, and age-related eye damage (macular degeneration).
Conversely, too much vitamin E from supplements can lead to excessive bleeding. Vitamin E foods, like the ones listed below, are considered to be safe and healthy.
Foods high in vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, avocados, squash, kiwifruit, trout, shrimp, olive oil, wheat germ oil, and broccoli. The current Daily Value (DV) for vitamin E is 15mg.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease - Vitamin E is thought to help prevent heart disease by inhibiting oxidationof low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and helping to prevent blood clots which could lead to a heartattack.3,4 Studies report mixed results as to the effectiveness of supplements.5,6
Reduced Cancer Risk (*Controversial) - Vitamin E may help reduce cancer risk by acting as anantioxidant and by preventing formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines formed in the stomach from nitrites in foods.7,8
Promoted Eye Health (Prevention from Macular Degeneration) (*Controversial) - At least one study has shownintake of the DV for vitamin E reduces risk of age related eye damage (macular degeneration) by 20%.9,10Other studies, however, fail to find any association.11,12
Alleviation of Chronic Inflammation - Preliminary studies show that vitamin E can help mediate the inflammatoryresponse, and may help those with type II diabetes, or chronic heart failure, who suffer from chronic inflammation.13-15
Reduced Risk of Dementia (Cognitive Decline) (*Controversial) - Preliminary findings have shown increased levels of vitamin E to have a protective effect on mental functioning as people age. Further studies need to be conducted to confirm this finding.16
Reduced Risk of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's Disease) (*Controversial) - A long range study found that increased intake of Vitamin E over 5 years could reduce risk ofALS. Further studies are needed as the sample size was small.17
High doses of vitamin E supplements can greatly suppress blood coagulation and clotting thus increasing riskof excessive bleeding or hemorrhage.2
Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000.
Glynn RJ, Ridker PM, Goldhaber SZ, Zee RY, Buring JE. Effects of random allocation to vitamin E supplementation on the occurrence of venous thromboembolism: report from the Women's Health Study. Circulation 2007;116:1497-1503.
Stampfer MJ, Hennekens CH, Manson JE, Colditz GA, Rosner B, Willett WC. Vitamin E consumption and the risk of coronary disease in women. N Engl J Med 1993;328:1444-9.
Traber MG. Heart disease and single-vitamin supplementation. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:293S-9S.
Huey KA, Fiscus G, Richwin AF, Johnson RW, Meador BM. In vivo vitamin E administration attenuates IL-6 and IL-1 Beta responses to an acute inflammatory insult in mouse skeletal and cardiac muscle. Exp Physiology. 2008.
Meador BM., Fiscus G, Richwine AF, Johnson RW, Huey KA. Effects of Vitamin E on Cytokine Responses to an Inflammatory Insult in Mouse Skeletal Muscle. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2008 - Volume 40 - Issue 5 - pp S162-S163.
K.H. Masaki, MD, K.G. Losonczy, MA, G. Izmirlian, PhD, D.J. Foley, MS, G.W. Ross, MD, H. Petrovitch, MD, R. Havlik, MD and L.R. White, MD. Association of vitamin E and C supplement use with cognitive function and dementia in elderly men. Neurology March 28, 2000 vol. 54 no. 6 1265-1272.
Ascherio A. Vitamin E Intake and Risk of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Pooled Analysis of Data From 5 Prospective Cohort Studies. Am. J. Epidemiol. (2011) 173 (6): 595-602.