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April 4, 2016
Are You Getting These Nutrients? - Part 8
Up to 80% of people may not be eating
the recommended intake of vitamin E. There are actually eight
different forms, which is one of the reasons it's best to get vitamin
E from foods, as supplements usually only contain one or two.
Low-carb sources include most nuts and
seeds (sunflower seeds are especially rich in vitamin E), greens,
avocado, peppers, and shrimp.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin
found in many foods, fats, and oils. It is also an antioxidant, a
substance that may help prevent damage to the body's cells.
Antioxidants may provide protection against serious diseases
including heart disease and cancer.
Vitamin E is also important in helping
your body make red blood cells, and it helps the body to use vitamin
People who can't absorb fat properly
may develop vitamin E deficiency. Symptoms of serious vitamin E
Loss of muscle mass
Abnormal eye movements
A deficiency that lasts a long time may
also cause liver and kidney problems. Although most people in the
United States aren’t seriously deficient in vitamin E, many people
may have slightly low levels.
The richest source of vitamin E is
wheat germ. Other foods that contain a significant amount of vitamin
E include – liver, eggs, nuts - almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts,
sunflower seeds, mayonnaise, cold-pressed vegetable oils - including
olive, corn, safflower, soybean, cottonseed, and canola, dark green
leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, greens - beet, collard,
mustard, turnip, sweet potatoes, avocado, asparagus, and yams.
There are natural and synthetic forms
of vitamin E. Health care providers usually recommend natural
vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol) or natural mixed tocopherols. Some
prefer mixed tocopherols because it most closely represents whole
foods. The synthetic form is called dl-alpha-tocopherol. Dosages are
usually listed in international units (IU).
Most vitamin E supplements are
fat-soluble. However, people who have trouble absorbing fat, such as
those with pancreatic problems or cystic fibrosis, can take
Vitamin E is available in softgels,
tablets, capsules, and topical oils.
Doses for oral vitamin E generally
range from 50 - 1,000 IU. Experts recommend getting vitamin E mostly
from food rather than supplements.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the
Institute of Medicine has set an upper tolerable intake level (UL)
for vitamin E at 1,000 mg (1,500 IU) per day for supplemental vitamin
Based on clinical trials, the dose
often used for disease prevention and treatment for adults is 400 -
800 IU per day. As with all supplements, you should check with a
doctor before giving vitamin E to a child.
Daily intakes of dietary vitamin E are
listed below. (Note: 1 mg vitamin E equals 1.5 IU.)
Older than 18 years: 22.4 IU
Pregnant females: 22.4 IU
Breast-feeding females: 28.4 IU
Always check with your doctor before
taking vitamin E supplements. Vitamin E may increase the risk of
bleeding, especially if you are taking blood-thinners such as
warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, or clopidogrel (Plavix).