Vitamin E Supplements: Benefits, Dosage, & Side Effects

by Raksha Hegde last updated -

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Vitamin E supplements help reduce inflammation in the body, improve skin health, reduce eczema, and prevent age-related eye problems. However, research studies have shown that an intake of a high dosage of vitamin E for a prolonged period may cause heart problems and even cancer. Let’s find out more.

Vitamin E Supplements

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found in many foods such as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils like wheat germ oil. It acts as an antioxidant in the body and helps boost immunity. Vitamin E is a term for eight related compounds in food, of which the most biologically active is alpha-tocopherol. Synthetic or laboratory-made vitamin E, sold as supplements is termed dl-alpha-tocopherol and is less biologically active. Vitamin E supplements are available in the following forms:

  • Multivitamins usually provide 30 international units or IU of vitamin E.
  • Vitamin E-only supplement can provide from 100 to 1000 IU.

Benefits & Uses of Vitamin E Supplements

Let us look at the most important benefits and uses of vitamin E supplements.

Prevents Oxidative Stress

Research shows that alpha-tocopherol inhibits the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In a 2017 randomized clinical study, seventy-two older people with late-stage knee osteoarthritis were given vitamin E (400 IU/day) for two months. They saw improvements in clinical symptoms and reduced oxidative stress biomarkers.

Treats Nerve Pain (Neuropathy)

Vitamin E deficiency can cause nerve pain and medical treatment usually involves oral supplementation of vitamin E (400 IU/day) twice daily, according to a Neurologic Clinics report. The physician monitors the normalization of the vitamin levels and may adjust the dosage accordingly.

Helps Maintain Eye Health

There is evidence that vitamin E helps keep your eyes healthy and may decrease your risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. A report published in the Photochemistry and Photobiology journal suggests that it has the ability to protect both animal and plant cell membranes from light-induced damage.

May Calm Eczema

Research published in the Journal of Research in Medical Studies revealed that vitamin E supplements (400 IU/day) can help alleviate eczema. However, more data is required from randomized clinical trials to explore the therapeutic potential of the vitamin for the skin.

Enhances Cognitive Function

Data from randomized clinical trials analyzed by a team of Swiss researchers showed that vitamin E can help improve brain function and also delay the decline seen during the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Dosage

According to the NIH, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E for people who are 14 years or older is 15 mg daily (or 22.4 international units, or IU). This includes women who are pregnant. However, lactating women need a slightly bigger amount, which is 19 mg (or 28.4 IU).

Most multivitamins contain vitamin E in amounts recommended by the RDA, so they should be safe to take. If you are suffering from a vitamin deficiency, doctors may suggest a daily supplement of upwards 400 IU. There have been toxic effects reported due to excess of vitamin E dosage, which is why an upper limit of 1000 mg (1465 IU) has been set for adults.

Side Effects

According to the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin E supplements can interact negatively with certain prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

  • People who take anticoagulant or antiplatelet medicines, such as warfarin, should be careful as high doses of vitamin E can add to the effect of anticoagulation, increasing the risk of bleeding.
  • Findings of a study published in the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology journal revealed that an antioxidant supplement that contained vitamins E and C, beta-carotene, and selenium had an unexpected adverse interaction in people who were being administered niacin-statin therapy for coronary artery disease and low HDL (good cholesterol).
  • Analysis of data of several randomized clinical trials by researchers from the US, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed that antioxidant supplements may protect tumor cells along with healthy cells and so, are best avoided during chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
  • Results from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial suggested that taking a daily dose of vitamin E supplement (400 IU) may increase the chances of prostate cancer in men. 
  • A study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine found that patients with left ventricular dysfunction were at an increased risk of developing heart failure if they had a high dosage of vitamin E.

5 Best-Selling Vitamin E Supplements

Vitamin E supplements are available online as well as in pharmacy stores. Some of the top brands, in terms of sales, include:

  • Puritan’s Pride Vitamin E 1000 IU Softgels, 100 Rapid Release Softgels
  • Nature’s Bounty Vitamin E-Oil 30,000 IU (Topical or Oral)
  • NOW E-400 Vitamin E-400 IU MT Softgels with Mixed Tocopherols
  • Sundown Naturals Vitamin E 400 IU Di-Alpha, 100 Synthetic Softgels
  • Kirkland Signature Vitamin E 400 I.U. 500 Softgels

Note: Please consult with your doctor before adding any multivitamin or vitamin supplement to your diet.

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About the Author

Raksha Hegde is the content director at Organic Facts and helps oversee a team of brilliant, dynamic content writers. She completed her MS in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University, US. A former business news journalist and editor, Raksha followed her passion for wellness to become a certified Yoga teacher and a wellness festival curator. She believes that learning is a life-long process; she did a certificate e-course on “Introduction to Food and Health” in 2019 from Stanford University, US. 

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