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Vitamin E

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Vitamin E is a natural component in many foods like meat, cereals, vegetable oils, eggs and fruits. It is available as a supplement for treating low levels of vitamin E in the body because it is essential for the proper functioning of organs and systems. It is an antioxidant that protects the cells and plays a critical role in maintaining the health of the skin, eyes, blood cells, and brain. 

However, the vitamin E found in food (RRR-alpha-tocopherol) differs from the one made as a supplement (all-rac-alpha-tocopherol). Still, the supplement is vital for people with vitamin E deficiency. This condition is rare, but it is found in people with some genetic disorders, such as low birth weight and premature babies.  


The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for natural vitamin E (RRR-alpha-tocopherol) is 15 mg (22 IU) for adults and pregnant women and 19 mg (28 IU) for breastfeeding women.

The dosage for vitamin E supplements differs from the natural one derived from food. The amount of vitamin E in most once-daily multivitamins is about 13.5 mg, but in vitamin E-only supplements, it can be up to 67 mg per capsule. This amount is higher than the recommended dietary allowance, so it is essential to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions when taking these supplements. 

Side Effects of Vitamin E

Taking vitamin E capsules by mouth in recommended doses is likely safe for most people. The side effects usually come with higher doses, and they include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Nausea.
  • Bleeding.
  • Headache.

Vitamin E, when used topically on the skin, is still safe for most people, but when inhaled, it can be unsafe. So, long-term use of vaping products like e-cigarettes containing vitamin E has been linked to severe lung injury in many people.


Before taking vitamin E supplements, tell your healthcare provider if you have a medical history of stroke, anaemia, bleeding disorders, low vitamin K levels, cancer, diabetes, or kidney problems, and also if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have had recent surgeries. 

Do not take vitamin E supplements unless you have been diagnosed with vitamin E deficiency and it is prescribed by a doctor. Vitamin E is naturally found in food, so supplements do not replace a healthy diet. 

Do not give vitamin E to a child without seeking medical advice. Also, if you take vitamin E supplements as prescribed by a doctor, do not offer them to anyone else, even if they have similar symptoms. 

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