Vitamin E is a fat-soluble body that serves as an antioxidant and protects cells from the harmful and damaging effects of free radicals; this function is perhaps the most important of the many vitamin E benefits.
Free radicals can damage not only the cell membrane but the cell metabolism in general.
Some of the food sources of vitamin E are fortified cereals, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, vegetable oils, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and Swiss chards.
Vitamin E RDA
Recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines recommend that the daily intake of vitamin E of a person should be met primarily through food sources. However, most individuals require certain supplements in order to get a sufficient amount of vitamin E. These supplements normally contain 400 IU to 800 IU. Adults are advised by the Institute of Medicine to have a daily consumption of 1500 IU of vitamin E.
The Recommended Dietary Intake for Vitamin E is as follows:
FEMALES (mg/day); IU/day
MALES (mg/day); IU/day
|Infants 0-6 months||4 mg (6 IU)||4 mg (6 IU)|
|Infants 7-12 months||5 mg (7.5 IU)||5 mg (7.5 IU)|
|1 to 3 years||6 mg (9 IU)||6 mg (9 IU)|
|4 to 8 years||7 mg (10.5 IU)||7 mg (10.5 IU)|
|9 to 13 years||11 mg (16.5 IU)||11 mg (16.5 IU)|
|14 to 18 years||15 mg (22.5 IU)||15 mg (22.5 IU)|
|19 years and older||15 mg (22.5 IU)||15 mg (22.5 IU)|
|Pregnant||15 mg (22.5 IU)||–|
|Lactating||19 mg (28.5 IU)||–|
Vitamin E Benefits
Several scientific studies are suggesting the supplements of vitamin E offer numerous health benefits that include aiding in reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Johns Hopkins University conducted a study that was published in the Journal of Archives of Neurology in 2004, found that 4,740 of both men and women who are 65 years and above and are having a daily consumption of 400-1000 IU of Vitamin E and 500-1500 mg of vitamin C have reduced risk and prevalence of Alzheimer disease. Other health benefits of Vitamins E and C are that they are linked with maintaining the health of brain cells. A John Hopkins meta-analysis found in November 2004 older patients, who are about 47-84 years of age, with existing conditions such as kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, and heart disease, who have a daily consumption of more than 400 IUs of vitamin E had an increased risk of all-cause mortality. However, the study concluded that “high dosage vitamin E trials were often performed in patients with various chronic diseases, and we could not evaluate the generalizability of our findings to healthy adult populations.” Other Vitamin E benefits include their use in acne prevention and skin care.
What is Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is primarily a family of eight antioxidants, which are four tocotrienols (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-) and four tocopherols (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-). Because of this, vitamin E is widely used for its antioxidant health benefits and is included in every dietary supplement, as well as in numerous skin and anti-aging products. Dietary sources of vitamin E include green leafy vegetables such as endive, artichokes, cauliflower, spinach, kale, and lettuce; nuts; beans; and fishes such as sardines and rockfish (full list here).
Vitamin E References and Further Reading
Office of Dietary Supplements; Pubmed; Harvard University; Oregon State University.