Vitamin E is a group of eight fat-soluble vitamins that are necessary for proper function of the body. Vitamin E’s powers go beyond just maintaining healthy skin and hair. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body from free radicals. Vitamin E helps keep the immune system strong and is found naturally in a wide range of foods.
Vitamin E Deficiency Risk Factors
Vitamin E deficiency is rare in that it is found readily in many foods. Vitamin E deficiency may often be genetic rather than due to a poor diet. Other underlying health conditions such as malabsorption of fats can be a cause of vitamin E deficiency and should be treated with a doctor.
Foods High in Vitamin E
Vitamin E can be found in a variety of foods including:
- wheat germ
- nuts and seeds
- leafy vegetables
- fortified dairy and grain products
Vitamin E can be found in a variety of foods. Nuts, seeds, and vegetables contain significant amounts of vitamin E.
Recommended Daily Intake
The National Institute of Medicine recommends a daily intake of 22.4 international units (IU) of vitamin E. Optimal levels differ depending on age and health conditions so when in doubt always check with your doctor.
Signs and Symptoms of Deficiency
Vitamin E deficiency can cause disorientation, vision problems, numbness and tingling, and muscle weakness. Neurological symptoms may indicate damage to the central and peripheral nervous system. Vitamin E deficiency can occur due to digestion conditions or sometimes from ataxia, a rare genetic condition. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptoms and only take supplementation under a doctor’s supervision.
Vitamin E Deficiency Treatments
Be cautious of treating vitamin E deficiency by taking vitamin E supplements as this may interfere with certain medications. Dietary changes are usually a quick fix. Treatments for neurologic conditions or malabsorption of vitamin E include taking high doses of vitamin E orally, through a tube in the stomach, and if necessary, intravenously.
Vitamin E Overdose
Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Abnormal intakes of vitamin E can lead to nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headaches, fatigue, bruising, blurred vision, or gastric distress. Significant risks include an increase in the risk of bleeding and serious bleeding in the brain. Make sure to take appropriate doses to prevent vitamin E toxicity.