Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant which protects red blood cells, fatty acids, and vitamins A and C from being destroyed. Many studies show a link between regularly eating an antioxidant rich diet full of fruits and vegetables, and a lower risk for heart disease, cancer, and several other diseases. Essentially, research indicates that to receive the full benefits of antioxidants in the diet, one should consume them in the form of fruits and vegetables, not as supplements.

How much do I need?

  • 7 milligrams per day for children 1-8 years old
  • 11 milligrams for children 9-13 years old
  • 15 milligrams per day for anyone over 14 years old
  • For recommendations for infants, children, and teens, check out the chart in CSU Extension’s Fact Sheet: Fat-Soluble Vitamins: A, D, E, and K.

Food sources

Vitamin E is naturally found in many foods and occasionally added to some fortified foods such as breakfast cereals. The best natural sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils such as wheat germ, sunflower, safflower, and corn. Other great sources include seeds and nuts such as peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds.

What happens if I don’t get enough?

Generally, vitamin E deficiency is not common, except in premature infants and in those unable to absorb or digest fats. Inadequate amounts of vitamin E can lead to weakened immune systems and possible nerve and muscle damage.

Can I get too much?

Vitamin E is fat-soluble, which means it can be stored in the body for long periods of time. Toxicity doesn’t usually occur when vitamin E comes from food, but extra caution should be used with supplements. Large dosages of vitamin E from supplements does not result in any added benefits and can pose risks for those taking blood thinners such as Coumadin®.