|Vitamin E is a family of fat soluble vitamin substances which include both tocopherols and tocotrienols.
|Function/ Used for
|Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant helping to neutralise potentially damaging free radicals in the body.
Vitamin E is particularly important for the protection of cell membranes as well as maintaining healthy skin, heart and circulation, nerves, muscles and red blood cells.
EU NRV: 12mg
UK average daily intake
Requirements vary depending on age and gender. The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey lists up-to-date intake requirements and average intakes1.
|As a supplement
|Available as a single supplement. Also commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.
Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.
|Found in (dietary sources)
|Seed oils, and the outer germ of cereals are the richest sources of vitamin E as well as olive oil, avocado pear, muesli, nuts, leafy green vegetables, wholemeal bread, cereals and egg yolks.
Vitamin E is not very stable and is readily lost during storage and cooking, particularly if there is significant exposure to heat and oxygen.
|Precautions and contraindications
|Vitamin E supplements should be avoided by patients taking oral anticoagulants and by patients with iron deficiency anaemia and hyperthyroidism.
Safe Upper Level: 540mg/day2
|Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding
|There is no evidence of adverse effects in pregnancy at normal intakes.
|Interactions e.g. with other medications
|Prolonged use of oral contraceptives may reduce blood levels of vitamin E.
The weight loss drug orlistat and cholesterol-lowering drugs can reduce the absorption of vitamin E and other fat-soluble vitamins (A, D and K).
Vitamin E supplements may affect blood coagulation and should be avoided by patients taking oral anticoagulants such as warfarin (blood thinners).3
|Vitamin E is relatively non-toxic. Large doses in excess of 1000mg daily for prolonged periods have occasionally been associated with increased bleeding tendency in vitamin K-deficient patients; and rarely, blurred vision, diarrhoea, dizziness, fatigue and weakness, headache and nausea.3
3. Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.
4. Gaby, A. R. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. HealthNotes 2006.