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Vitamin E

This fat-soluble vitamin is needed for circulation.tissue repair and healing. It seems to help the treatment of fibrocystic conditions, sterility, PMS and muscular dystrophy. It seems to retard the ageing process. A vital role of vitamin E is the deactivation of free radicals.

This powerful antioxidant works in concert with certain trace elements, notably selenium and zinc. Increased ingestion of polyunsaturated oils requires greater amount of vitamin E in the diet. It is found in unrefined vegetable oils, butter, organ meats, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and dark green leafy vegetables.

The majority of vitamin E benefits come from avoiding a deficiency, but there are several instances where supplementation can offer additional benefits. Supplementing α-tocopherol is able to improve T-cell mediated immune function, which boosts the immune system.

Vitamin E also seems to be able to enhance the body’s antibody response to vaccinations. Vitamin E is particularly important for the elderly, since a deficiency is associated with a higher risk of bone fractures. Supplementing additional vitamin E, however, will not provide additional benefits to bone health.

Vitamin E may also be able to protect against age-related cognitive decline, but further research is needed before supplementation can be recommended specifically for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s treatment.

Since the majority of vitamin E benefits are associated with low doses slightly above the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), vitamin E supplementation is not always necessary. Dietary changes can single handedly prevent a vitamin E deficiency and eliminate the need for supplementation. Sesame seeds in particular contain a lot of tocotrienols, as well as sesamin, which improves the retention of vitamin E. Low-dose vitamin E is safe to supplement, but it should not be mixed with coumarin-based anticoagulants like warfarin.

High-dose long-term vitamin E supplementation (above 400IU per day), however, may be associated with increased risk of death and increased risk of prostate cancer.

The Human Effect Matrix from summarises human studies to tell you what effects Vitamin E has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Liver enzymes: There appears to be a notable decrease in both ALT and γ-GPT in persons with non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) which may exceed 50% when vitamin E is supplemented above 300mg for half a year; there does not appear to be any influence whatsoever in healthy controls.

Risk of thromboembolism: There appears to be a large (27%) reduction in thromboembolism associated with vitamin E supplementation at 600 IU every other day, more pronounced in those who reported such an event previously (44%).

Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease: Very high dose Vitamin E supplementation in the form of α-tocopherol (2,000 IU) appears to reduce the rate of cognitive decline in persons with moderate to severe Alzheimer's Disease with a potency comparable to selegiline. Currently no research on lower (more standard) doses, and there appears to be no influence on minor AD or cognitive decline not characterized by AD.

Ulcerative Colitis: Rectal administration of high doses of vitamin E appears to be effective in reducing symptoms of ulcerative colitis, with preliminary research noting remission in the majority of patients.

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