You’ve probably heard about vitamin E many times, but do you know what its functions are? Vitamin E deficiency can lead to different symptoms, and learning more about them can help you spot them quickly.
Read on to learn more about the signs of low vitamin E levels.
Facts about vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is mostly stored in the cells of your fatty tissue and liver. There are different forms of vitamin E, but the one that can be found in the human body is called alpha-tocopherol.
Benefits of taking vitamin E
Vitamin E serves many purposes in your body, and it’s essential for human health. According to MedlinePlus, the functions of vitamin E include:
- The major role of vitamin E in the body seems to be to act as an antioxidant to protect your body against free radicals produced by oxidative stress
- Boosting the immune system to prevent infections
- Helping the body use vitamin K correctly
- Preventing premature death of red blood cells
- Widening blood vessels to prevent excessive clotting
There’s also evidence that suggests that taking enough vitamin E helps prevent many diseases, including certain types of cancer, dementia, heart disease, liver disease, and stroke. However, more research is still needed on this topic.
How much vitamin E should you take per day?
How much vitamin E you should take per day will vary depending on your age, gender, and other factors. According to the National Institutes of Health, the amount of vitamin E you should take per day is:
- 0-6 months old: 4 mg
- 7-12 months old: 5 mg
- 1-3 years old: 6 mg
- 4-8 years old: 7 mg
- 9-13 years old: 11 mg
- 14-18 years old: 15 mg
- Adults: 15 mg
- Pregnant women: 15 mg
- Breastfeeding women: 19 mg
Keep in mind that just like with many other vitamins, it’s possible to develop vitamin E toxicity if you exceed these amounts by a large quantity. There’s no risk in the vitamin E that is contained in foods, but you can exceed the maximum dose of vitamin E per day if you’re taking supplements.
According to StatPearls, vitamin E toxicity is caused by excessive supplementation rather than eating dietary sources of vitamin E. The upper intake limit for vitamin E is 1,000 mg of vitamin E per day for adults. This is equivalent to approximately 1,500 IU/day if you’re taking natural supplements, or 1,100 IU/day for synthetic vitamin E supplements.
Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency
- Poor reflexes
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty walking
- Poor immune function
Best sources of vitamin E
The good news is that many foods contain vitamin E. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, dietary sources of vitamin E include:
- Sunflower oil
- Soybean oil
- Wheat germ oil
- Safflower oil
- Nut butters
- Leafy greens
- Red bell pepper
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Vitamin E - medlineplus.gov
Vitamin E - ods.od.nih.gov
Vitamin E Toxicity - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Vitamin E Deficiency - msdmanuals.com
Vitamin E - hsph.harvard.edu