Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant.
Vitamin E is the name given to a particular group of fat-soluble compounds with antioxidant activity. Naturally occurring vitamin E occurs in 8 different chemical forms (α-, β-, γ-, δ-tocopherol and α-, β-, γ-, δ-tocotrienol). However, only α-tocopherol is regarded as being biologically important in humans.1 Antioxidants such as vitamin E protect the cells of the body from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals that have an unpaired electron react with oxygen to form reactive oxygen species. These reactive oxygen species in turn may contribute to the development of a number of disease states.2 Vitamin E is an antioxidant specifically associated with preventing the production of reactive oxygen species during the oxidation of fat.2
Where it’s found
Effects on the body
Recommended daily value (DV)
DV for α-tocopherol is 30 IU (approximately 20 mg) for adults and children 4 years and older.8 (Note that the daily recommendation is for the active α-tocopherol only. Clients will need approximately 50% more IU when consuming synthetic vitamin E found in dietary supplements and fortified foods.)
Conclusions from the literature
A number of in vitro studies have suggested that vitamin E may be beneficial in the prevention of a number of conditions due to its role as an antioxidant. However, more research is required to determine if these benefits translate to true clinical benefits.1
References: 1. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin E. Available at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE_pf.asp. 2. Calder PC, Albers R, Antoine J-M, et al. Inflammatory disease processes and interactions with nutrition. Br J Nutr. 2009;101(suppl 1):S1–45. 3. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 22. November 20, 2009. Available at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl. 4. Glynn RJ, Ridker PM, Goldhaber SZ, Zee RYL, Buring JE. Effects of random allocation to vitamin E supplementation on the occurrence of venous thromboembolism: report from the Women's Health Study. Circulation. 2007;116:1497–1503. 5. Yusuf S, Degenais G, Pogue J, Bosch J Sleight P. Vitamin E supplementation and cardiovascular events in high-risk patients. The Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation Study Investigators. N Engl J Med. 2000;342:154–160. 6. Waters DD, Alderman EL, Hsia J, et al. Effects of hormone replacement therapy and antioxidant vitamin supplements on coronary atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial. J Am Med Assoc. 2002;288:2432–2440. 7. Seifried HE, McDonald SS, Anderson DE, Greenwald P, Milner JA. The antioxidant conundrum in cancer. Cancer Res. 2003;63:4295–4298. 8. US Food and Drug Administration. Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients. April 2008. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/FoodLabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuide/ucm064928.htm.