Focus On: Vitamin E

What it is, why you need it, and where to find it.

WHAT IT IS: Vitamin E is a group of eight fat-soluble compounds that contain antioxidant properties. Two of the compounds are tocopherols and tocotrienols. With many forms of vitamin E, the alpha-tocopherol is considered the only form that meets human requirements—but avoid the synthetic version. When taken alone, synthetic alpha-tocopherol depletes the body of necessary gamma-tocopherols, which increases the chance of prostate cancer.

[ Natural Sources ]

The best natural sources of vitamin E are eggs, fruit, whole grains, meat, nuts, oils like olive and argan, and leafy vegetables like spinach.

[ Benefits ]

The main benefit of vitamin E is the protection it gives cells from damage caused by free radicals. It also boosts the immune system and widens blood vessels to keep them from clotting. There’s little evidence to suggest any health benefits beyond that.

[ Warnings ]

High doses of a vitamin E supplement could increase the risk of bleeding and could increase the risk of death in adults with chronic health conditions. Eating vitamin E in the quantities naturally found in foods is not harmful.

[ Recommended Dosage ]

Life Stage                                           International Units

Birth to 6 months                                6 IU

Infants 7-12 months                          7.5 IU 

Children 1-3 years                             9 IU

Children 4-8 years                             10.4 IU

Children 9-13 years                           16.4 IU

Teens 14-18 years                             22.4 IU           

Adults                                                    22.4 IU

Pregnant teens/women                     22.4 IU

Breastfeeding teens/women            28.4 IU

[ Vitamin E Picks ]

Solgar Vitamin E, $16, 100 softgels, solgar.com // Unique E, $40, 120 capsules, acgrace.com // Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Vitamin E, $26, 60 veggie caps, thevitamincode.com // Nature’s Answer Liquid Vitamin E, $35, 8 oz, naturesanswer.com