Vitamin E: Friend or Foe?

Vitamin E works as an antioxidant, preventing a chemical reaction called oxidation, which can sometimes result in harmful effects on the body. Knowing that vitamin E is an important nutrient, many people take large, mega-doses of it because they believe that it will help reduce the oxidation effect, slow the aging process and prevent cancer and heart disease.

Recently researchers looked at over 19 vitamin-E studies conducted between 1993-2004. More than 136,000 people where involved in these studies. In some of the studies the participants took only vitamin E, while in other studies a combination of vitamin supplements were taken including vitamin E. The investigation of these studies found that people who took more than 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin E a day died at a higher rate than those who did not take supplements. 

Action Sparked
There are 8 different naturally occurring forms of vitamin E. Most supplements only contain one form. Supplements do not provide the same benefits as food sources. Therefore, try to increase your dietary intake of vitamin E through foods such as wheat germ, vegetable oils, salad dressings, nuts, seeds, peanuts, peanut butter, whole grains, fish and eggs. Don’t exceed 400 IU of vitamin E per day. More research is needed regarding the functions of the various forms of vitamin E and how much is needed to protect against disease.
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Member Comments

Only 136000 people in 8 different studies? These studies exclusively studied vitamin E, excluding other things that cause death? I have been reading more about these studies and I have found they do not have enough participants to be more than statistically irrelevant. They also don't focus on the thing they are studying. They rely more on people's memories and self reporting. The studies are not quality work. Lots of them are scattershot and "let's see what kind of results we can claim" things. Report
thanks Report
good info Report
great information I did no know Report
When my children were young and got the occasional ear ache, I would squeeze the contents of a vitamin E capsule directly into the affected ear. Instant pain relief! Report
Thanks for sharing this one! Report
Thanks Report
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
Informative article Report
Great info! Thanks! Report
I rub the oil from a Vitamin E capsule on an incision. It provides healing to the wound. Report
thanks Report
Thank you. Report
I don't take a Vitamin E supplement, and now I know that I don't need one. Report


About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.