Supplement Forms/Alternate Names
- Alpha Tocopherol
- Tocopheryl Succinate
- Tocopheryl Acetate
- Mixed Tocopherols
Principal Proposed Uses
Other Proposed Uses
- Acute Anterior Uveitis (in Combination With Vitamin C )
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Cancer Treatment Support
- Cyclical Mastalgia
- Deep Venous Thrombosis (Prevention)
- Diabetic Neuropathy and Other Complications of Diabetes
- Diabetic Neuropathy
- Immune Support
- Macular Degeneration
- Male Infertility
- Menopausal Symptoms
- Menstrual Pain
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
- Preeclampsia (Prevention)
- Restless Legs Syndrome
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sports Performance
- Tardive Dyskinesia
- Vascular Dementia
Probably Not Effective Uses
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Cancer Prevention (Other Than Prostate Cancer)
- Cataract Prevention
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Diabetes (Prevention)
- Fibrocystic Breast Disease
- Heart Disease (Prevention)
- HIV Support
- Kidney Damage in Diabetes
- Macular Degeneration
- Parkinson's Disease
- Prevention of Preterm Birth
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that fights damaging natural substances known as free radicals. It works in lipids (fats and oils), which makes it complementary to vitamin C, which fights free radicals dissolved in water. As an antioxidant, vitamin E has been widely advocated for preventing heart disease and cancer. However, the results of large, well-designed trials have generally not been encouraging. Many other proposed benefits of vitamin E have also failed to stand up in studies. There are no medicinal uses for vitamin E with solid scientific support.
Vitamin E dosage recommendations are a bit complex because the vitamin exists in many forms.
To make matters even more confusing, vitamin E dosages are commonly listed on labels as international units (IU). Here's how you make the conversion. One IU natural vitamin E equals 0.67 mg alpha-tocopherol; one IU synthetic vitamin E equals 0.45 mg alpha-tocopherol. Therefore, to meet the new dietary recommendations for vitamin E (15 mg per day), you need to get either 22 IU natural vitamin E (22 IU x 0.67 = 15 mg) or 33 IU synthetic vitamin E (33 IU x 0.45 = 15 mg). The official US and Canadian recommendations for daily intake of vitamin E are as follows:
- 0-6 months: 4 mg
- 7-12 months: 5 mg
- 1-3 years: 6 mg
- 4-8 years: 7 mg
- 9-13 years: 11 mg
Males and Females
- 14 years and older: 15 mg
- Pregnant Women : 15 mg
- Nursing Women : 19 mg
Vitamin E Deficiency
The optimal therapeutic dosage of vitamin E has not been established. Most studies have used between 50 IU and 800 IU daily, and some have used even higher doses. This would correspond to about 50 mg to 800 mg of synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopherol), or 25 mg to 400 mg of natural vitamin E (d-alpha- or mixed tocopherols).
If you wish to purchase natural vitamin E, look for a label that says "mixed tocopherols." However, some manufacturers use this term to mean the synthetic dl-alpha-tocopherol, so you need to read the contents closely. Natural tocopherols come as d-alpha-, d-gamma-, d-delta-, and d-beta-tocopherol.
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis10 times
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Vitamin E?
Prevention of Complications During Pregnancy
The bottom line: The effectiveness of vitamin E for a given individual is simply not known. Given the lack of other good treatments for TD and the general safety of the vitamin, it may be worth discussing with your physician.
The results were promising. Vitamin E at 200 mg per day and, to a lesser extent, at 800 mg per day significantly increased the strength of the immune response.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 341 people with Alzheimer's disease received either 2,000 IU daily of vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopherol), the antioxidant drug selegiline, or placebo. Those given vitamin E took nearly 200 days longer to reach a severe state of the disease than the placebo group. (Selegiline was even more effective.)
Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual Pain)
Low Sperm Count/Infertility
There is also at least a remote possibility that vitamin E could also interact with supplements that possess a mild blood-thinning effect, such as garlic , policosanol , and ginkgo . Individuals with bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia, and those about to undergo surgery or labor and delivery should also approach vitamin E with caution.
The bottom line: If you have diabetes, do not take high-dose vitamin E without first consulting your physician.
Congential Heart Defects
Interactions You Should Know About
- Seek medical advice before taking vitamin E if you are taking blood thinning drugs, such as:
- Vitamin E may help protect you from lung-related side effects if you are taking amiodarone .
- Vitamin E may help reduce side effects if you are taking phenothiazine drugs .
- Seek medical advice before taking vitamin E if you are taking chemotherapy drugs.
- High-dose vitamin E might cause your blood sugar levels to fall too low, requiring an adjustment in medication dosage, if you are taking oral hypoglycemic medications .
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 09/10/2012 -