Why Is Vitamin E Important?

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found in many foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy. Free radicals are also in the environment from cigarette smoke, air pollution, and ultraviolet light from the sun.

The body also needs vitamin E to boost its immune system so that it can fight off invading bacteria and viruses. It helps to widen blood vessels and keep blood from clotting within them.

Some Signs of Vitamin E Deficiency

Vitamin E deficiency is very rare in healthy people. It is often linked to certain diseases in which fat is not properly digested or absorbed. Examples include Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and certain rare genetic diseases and ataxia. Vitamin E needs some fat for the digestive system to absorb it.

Vitamin E deficiency can cause nerve and muscle damage that results in loss of feeling in the arms and legs, loss of body movement control, muscle weakness, and vision problems. Another sign of deficiency is a weakened immune system.

Can Vitamin E Be harmful?

Vitamin E that is naturally present in food and beverages is not harmful and does not need to be limited.

In supplement form, however, high doses of vitamin E might increase the risk of bleeding (by reducing the blood’s ability to form clots after a cut or injury) and of serious bleeding in the brain (known as hemorrhagic stroke). Because of this risk, the upper limit for adults is 1,000 mg/day for supplements of either natural or synthetic vitamin E. This is equal to 1,500 IU/day for natural vitamin E supplements and 1,100 IU/day for synthetic vitamin E supplements. The upper limits for children are lower.

Some research suggests that taking vitamin E supplements even below these upper limits might cause harm. In one study, for example, men who took 400 IU (180 mg) of synthetic vitamin E each day for several years had an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Vitamin E Can Interact With Medication

Vitamin E dietary supplements can interact or interfere with certain medicines that you take. So, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking vitamin E supplements.

Vitamin E can increase the risk of bleeding in people taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medicines, such as warfarin (Coumadin®).

In one study, vitamin E, plus other antioxidants, reduced the heart-protective effects of two drugs taken in combination (a statin and niacin) to affect blood-cholesterol levels.

What Foods Contain Vitamin E?

People should get most of their nutrients from food and beverages, according to the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Foods contain vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other components that benefit health. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements are useful when it is not possible to meet the needs for one or more nutrients (for example, during specific life stages such as pregnancy).

You can get vitamin E by eating a variety of foods including the following:

Wheat Germ Oil

One tablespoon of wheat germ oil contains roughly 20.2 milligrams (101% DV) of vitamin E. It also contains a host of antioxidants, which help wheat germ oil promote regularity, stabilize blood sugar, support heart health, manage weight, and support immunity.

Sunflower Seeds

A quarter cup of sunflower seeds provides about 11.6 milligrams (58% DV) of this micronutrient. These seeds are also high in B vitamins, manganese, and other minerals. As such, they can help lower the risk of heart disease, combat cancer, support the thyroid, protect bones and muscles, balance blood sugar, and promote skin health.


One ounce of almonds holds approximately 7.3 milligrams (37% DV) of vitamin E. Almonds nutrition also supplies healthy fats, protein, and several other vitamins and minerals. Almonds are good for the heart, brain, skin, blood sugar, weight management, nutrient absorption, digestion, immune health, teeth, and bones.


Supplying approximately 4.2 milligrams (21% DV) per ounce, hazelnuts have been shown to help promote heart health, manage diabetes, boost brain health, combat obesity and disease, and contribute to healthy nails and skin. Hazelnut nutrition is especially high in manganese, copper, magnesium, and B vitamins as well.


A cup of cooked spinach provides about 3.7 milligrams (19% DV) of this vitamin. Known for its high vitamin K content as well, spinach nutrition is an immune-boosting powerhouse that can defend against chronic disease, while supporting eye, bone, skin, and brain health.


With 3.1 milligrams (16% DV) in a cup, avocado benefits come from its tremendous nutrition profile, including its high vitamin E content. This superfood provides a healthy dose of good fats and just about every important micronutrient. That is why avocado is good for the heart, gut, skin, eyes, hair, brain, and immune system.

Turnip Greens

Turnip greens nutrition provides 2.7 milligrams (14% DV) of vitamin E in one cooked cup, as well as plenty of vitamins C, A, and K, along with other micronutrients. These greens benefit the heart, bones, eyes, and more.

Butternut Squash

There are about 2.6 milligrams (13% DV) of vitamin E in one cup of cooked butternut squash. Also high in antioxidants, butternut squash is good for combating inflammation, certain cancers, bone maladies, and symptoms of PMS. It also can help with weight loss, physical performance, and boosting energy.

Pine Nuts

Pine nut nutrition supplies roughly 2.6 milligrams (13% DV) of vitamin E in a one-ounce serving. Along with its other vitamins and minerals, pine nuts can help lower bad cholesterol, maintain healthy weight, reduce blood pressure, support bone health, improve eye health, and stabilize mood.


So long as you are not allergic to peanuts, they can support metabolism and even aid in fat loss when consumed with omega-3 foods. One ounce also contains 1.9 milligrams (10% DV) of vitamin E.

Olive Oil

One tablespoon of olive oil contains approximately 1.9 milligrams (10% DV) of this micronutrient. One of the healthiest oils around, olive oil benefits extend to the whole body, proving beneficial to the heart, waistline, brain, and immune system. In fact, olive oil may help combat cancer, slow aging naturally, and lower risk of diabetes.

Sweet Potato

A cup of cooked sweet potatoes contains 1.4 milligrams (7% DV) of this vitamin. One of the healthiest potatoes available, a sweet potato is high in antioxidants, providing an immune boost, along with being a healthy carb option.


Tomatoes provide about 1.3 milligrams (7% DV) of vitamin E in one cooked cup. Also high in vitamins A, C, and K, tomatoes are versatile and support the immune system, along with eye health and so much more.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD.

Check out the website at www.doctorlo.com.

*Source: Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), draxe.com.

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