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

Thank you. Report
I don't take a Vitamin E supplement, and now I know that I don't need one. Report
Thank you Report
Good article. Report
Interesting article! Thanks! Report
MUSICNUT
Thanks for an interesting article! :) Report
Excuse me? They died?! Report
I would be professionally embarassed to have my name as a scientist on those studies that found it harmful . . . they were looking at artificial vitamin E which even the dullest bulb, dullest inDUHvidual knows that doesn't fly. I will continue to take only the naturally occurring form of vitamin E, NOT ARTIFICIAL and yes my vitamin E supplement contains all 8 forms. Report
In that study was the vitamin e = early death taken in a fish oil type form? Do you have the name of the studies? Report
Why would anyone take vitamins if they didn't have a need for it - were their levels tested? I always wonder about the health of the participants in these studies. Are any EVER tested for leaky gut?

I got my vitamin E level tested after taking 800iu for a period of time. I was over, so I cut back to 400iu. It's kinda ridiculous to take fat soluble vitamins without knowing your levels. You should not be willy-nilly with fat soluble supplements; but sometimes absolutely more than the RDA is warranted. Consider checking with your health care provider for guidance - someone with a bent on nutrition, not MEDICINE, perhaps. Report
JENCORINNE
Most Vit E in capsules and in our food and beauty products come from wheat which is bad for people with Celiac Disease or gluten issues. Report
JENCORINNE
Most Vit E in capsules and in our food and beauty products come from wheat which is bad for people with Celiac Disease or gluten issues. Report
It's best not to take more than the RDA of any of fat-soluable vitamins. (A,D,E,K) Report
The study didn't run very long....about 10 years, if I remember. These people died within ten years of the start of the study? Where they already dying or did the extra E push them along. 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.
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